27 February 2020 (released)
27 February 2020
Gillian Greer’s new play Meat is an engaging look into the lives of two young people, each from a similar social background but with sufficiently different personalities and ambitions to push their life trajectories apart and to make an end to their early love.
Max is a young girl who has been a successful blog writer and is now preparing a book whose subject compels her to visit her ex-boyfriend Ronan, a typical lad who we learn, bit by bit, has become successful in his own way, as part-owner and chef in a restaurant. Max has is a difficult secret to reveal which she feels compelled to discuss with Ronan before her book comes out. It concerns an incident of sexual violence which took place between them. That incident and issue form the frame the context within which their relationship is explored. The issue is a both complex and subtle, politically and socially difficult and Greer gives us an unusually balanced view, something difficult to achieve.
This is achieved in part by the very convincing performance of Sean Fox as Ronan, the conventional lad who has a combination of endearing sincerity in his expression and character and a naïve, intellectual narrowness. Both Ronan and Max have interesting back stories which are briefly brought to us through shifts in time and allusions
Greer has written an engaging play with lively and authentic dialogue, interesting characters and a timely issue as a frame. The strong performance by Sean Fox certainly helps carry the play, with equally able support from Elinor Lawless as Jo, the co-owner of his restaurant and current love interest. India Mullen as Max has a challenging role of playing someone whose character is written to be ambivalent – is her use of the past memory of sexual violence something real or too much part of her professional ambition? Is there a genuine trauma or is Max commercially motivated and shallow in her understanding of emotions? These questions are used as an entry point to the exploration of an issue and by the end we are left wanting more of the back story and development of the two characters whose relationship forms one of the strongest elements of the play. The play runs for 70 minutes, non-stop although we are left wanting more, the play remains a very successful exploration of a complex issue and interesting characters.