Morale Is High (Since We Gave Up Hope)

Contact Theatre, Manchester; Thursday 7th December 2017



Ross McCafferty of Manchester-based Powder Keg Theatre has gone into the future. He’s seen things there and he now knows how it will all pan out, so he’s back to tell his pal Jake (and the rest of us) what is about to become of us all.

Morale Is High (Since We Gave Up Hope) is a zany hour of theatrical shenanigans – this seems to be part theatre, part rock concert, a little bit like a serious documentary, a little bit like stand up comedy.

This is an artistic outburst covering many different forms, the duo saunter between serious dialogue over very serious matters and a more light-hearted series of sketches depicting fights in a pub and toilets on a train.

Highlight of the evening is Ross’ enactment of how Michael Gove becomes Prime Minister – the root cause being an astonishing piece of political oratory that the man himself would surely be proud of.

In amongst the electric guitars and the shouting, what lies beneath is something close to a political discussion show – a bit like the Sunday TV morning debates where smartly dressed people have a chat about stuff and politely agree to disagree with each other. Morale Is High (Since We Gave Up Hope) isn’t likely to answer any of your questions soon, instead it will leave you wondering “What was the question again ….?”

As the performers take their bows, we learn that this will be the penultimate performance of this play – Friday 8th December 2017 will be the last time that this will ever be staged. Suddenly the final impression is one of sadness, as if some important debate has been muted. Of course Powder Keg may one day do like most boy-bands and go on a reunion tour; but for now this is the end of their on-stage efforts to explain Brexit, spending cuts, immigration, the NHS, etc. I suspect though that they’ll still have something new to say about it all very soon.

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