Review: Wasted

Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club
Greenside Infirmary Street until August 29th
3 Stars (3 / 5)

“There’s nothing you can give a person that don’t take half of them away.”

Wasted by contemporary spoken-word artist Kate Tempest, winner of the 2013 Ted Hughes Award for her sublime work Brand New Ancients, is a here-and-now drama about the dwindling potential of three average folks in London who keep promising to turn over a new leaf only to find themselves falling back into old habits of drink, drugs and getting wasted. A call to action begging us to make the most of our lives before it’s too late, lest we fall to temptation.

Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club’s presentation of the play makes use of several novel devices, some work better than others. The scene is set by the three protagonists best mate (now deceased) reading what could be stage directions for the context in which we find them to the audience, as the they each wear one of three different styles of jacket to signify their roles. This opening is particularly excellently directed, the body language is excellent and the actors move with uniform gestures along to the narration.

A feature of their presentation is that all three actors play all three characters (signified by their choice of coat.) This is a failure as a device. It unnecessarily complicates things on stage, and there is no consistency between portrayal of characters. It does not make full use of the cast of three’s considerable talents. For a cast of two men and a lady each could have comfortable taken on one of the roles and owned it.

Nonetheless, there are stirring performances here. The delivery is good, as is the on stage chemisty. The performers are charismatic actors. The piece ends with a poem, a little condescendingly imploring us not to follow the example we have seen – a tragic waste of potential.