Wasted is well worth a watch. Creatively interpreted and well performed, the play examines with haunting depth the anti-climax of post-adolescence, following three London friends mourning the loss of a world in which “everything was ours” in their attempts to “rise up and get our dream back”. The reality of the monotonous nine to ﬁve is one that many of us at Cambridge have yet to face, and Wasted forces us to confront it with a rare mixture of honesty and humour.
Lucy Moss directs with an eye well trained to the play’s moments of light and shade. The result is a subtle production in which neither comedy nor gravity are compromised, but rather complement one another; some of the most touching scenes are also some of the funniest. The dialogue crescendos seamlessly from mute staticity to banterous and, occasionally, explosive frustration. The dramatic refrain, in which the actors bombard the audience with life’s abstract observations and unanswerable questions, becomes repetitive towards the end, but is nonetheless impressively well-choreographed.
Meanwhile, the sparse, versatile set is an asset in a play which relies so strongly on its evocation of emotion, and the sense of wider life trajectory, rather than place. The incredibly neat staging of a party gives way to a beautifully vulnerable “morning-after” scene, which sees the characters huddled together in the corner of a bare stage.
The acting, on the whole, is convincing: insightful and touching lines are delivered conversationally, or with the unobtrusive deadpan of which all the actors seem to be masters. Though some of the more confessional moments feel a little self-conscious, the cast do well, overall, to inject a grittiness and energy into a script occasionally in danger of lapsing into self-indulgent nostalgia. Mike Hood strikes the perfect balance between compassion and eeriness as the on-stage shadow of the departed Tony, with the stand-out performance coming from Ian Johnston as Danny, a failed musician devastated by the immanent departure of the girl he loves. The actors’ switching roles several times in the play certainly showcases their own versatility, but can become a distraction from the plot.
Overall, Wasted is a moving and well-delivered portrait of three friends getting riotously drunk, while staring into the blank of the life to come.
Wasted plays at the Corpus Playroom, 9:30 p.m. until Saturday. Tickets can be bought here.