Yen by Anna Jordan is a criminally underperformed play. First performed in 2013 in Manchester, the play has had the odd professional reprise over the years but still remains a relatively unknown title. Which seems bizarre: Jordan’s script is a stunning piece of work, balancing palpable tension with an all-too-real emotional punch. Hench and Bobbie live home alone in a council estate, with no rules or restrictions. Their mum rarely visits and when young Jennifer walks into their life, things begin to spiral out of control. Now, Forth Wall Theatre take on Jordan’s script in an intimate venue in C Cubed, bringing a new lease of life to the text.
Fourth Wall’s major credit to their name is the sheer quality of their performers. Daniel Parker and Jack Firoozan excel as Hench and Bobbie, bringing a charisma and gravitas to both characters. Scenes between the two of them find a gorgeous natural rhythm which oscillates between pedantic arguing and heartfelt, brotherly love. As the play progresses and takes on some heavier themes, the cast step up to the mark, cultivating tension and crafting a diabolical dilemma out of the central character of Hench.
“a rich tapestry of character and emotion”
Hetty Hodgson and Alice Clarke’s direction is also highly impressive creating an adaptable set and blocking for traverse which creates a real sense of immersion. As the characters move through their days, a stunning sense of naturalism develops, transporting the audience from the bustling Fringe to this small single room. Yen makes you forget about your Fringe, immersing you in a rich tapestry of character and emotion. When you leave at the end, it feels almost bizarre to find yourself back in Edinburgh.
As productions of published plays at the Fringe go, this production of Yen is of the highest standard. Fourth Wall Theatre are a professional-standard company, and deserve to be seen far and wide over the next few weeks.
Yen is playing at C Venues-C Cubed – Main Space every day until the 26th August. Tickets available here.
Image: Fourth Wall Theatre
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