The King’s Arms, Salford; Saturday 13th July, 2019
Sisters Jude and Susie are a right pair of feisty gobshites. WE’RE A COUPLE OF SICK FUCKS, they proudly boast. Bold, brash and fiercely loyal to each other, they’ll tell you to your face that they could go off at any moment.
And go off she did. In an independent coffee shop full of Yah Yah Mummies, Jude got a little too close to the children’s artwork, had a proper dust-up with Bitch Mother #1, before losing her shit completely and kicking a pram down some steps out onto the street.
The authorities stepped in quickly and firmly: public demand was for contrition, the assigned case therapist going so far as to immediately deploy the ambient soothing electronica of Brian Eno as a way to stop her killing.
But Jude’s permanently gnarled screw the lot of you countenance suggests that redemption could be a long time coming.
Just. Calm. Down.
Pramkicker comes flying out of the opening scene at what seems like a thousand miles per hour – a genuinely hilarious he-said-she-said-we-said outburst of:
- who’s to blame,
- who started it,
- and who just DOES. NOT. GIVE. A. FUCK.
The middle class bitch-fight scene is physical theatre at its most powerfully comedic. What Pramkicker gets so right is the frankly hilarious response of a loudmouth yob bouncing off the walls with rage simply because someone told her to (Calm + The + Fuck = Down).
This is voyeuristic I-will-judge-you-if-I-want-to rage porn of the highest quality.
Huge credit has to go to both performers: Coral Sinclair in the role of Jude, and Tilly Sutcliffe as the younger sister. Somehow they manage to craft a viable channel for sympathy that strongly suggests that it may be the Yah Yah Mummy Twats who are the perpetrators, rather than being the victims.
Is this a battle in a class war perhaps?
What starts as a cracking comedy fizzing with lusty rage soon begins to take a very different direction. In a much slower and contemplative second half, it becomes clear that there are some very dark origins to Jude’s anger, origins that seem to lie in what she calls “another life”.
Pramkicker thus wanders off into a much, much darker and deeper examination of what led to Jude’s shocking actions. This feels, perhaps, to be a place where this performance seems to delve a little too long maybe, a place where the production seems to stutter slightly as quantum blasts of super-foul-mouthed comedy suddenly and fleetingly fizz back into focus in amongst the solemnly serious story lines being played out.
But maybe that’s the point? Maybe extreme rage – even an unspeakable rage such as kicking a pram – requires the expenditure of exceptional effort and time in order to be truly understood and explained, way above and beyond any initial responses of disgust and revulsion.
Or maybe this is just audience rage? A theatre viewer raging at a production for not delivering the theatrical justice that a sick-fuck pramkicker should be getting?
That then is what Pramkicker is: like an episode of the now-cancelled Jeremy Kyle Show where a scumbag perpetrator of moral outrage is thrust forward for the audience to leer at; but this time it’s all analysed properly and resolved and there’s a satisfactory conclusion reached through reasonable and proper rationalisation.
The right outcomes were achieved, that’s the most important thing I guess. Let’s just hope that Jude sticks to the big-chain coffee shops from now on.
Photography: Alyssa Photography