A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Don’t Destroy Me

Don’t Destroy Me
15 January 2024
Arcola Theatre
2.0 out of 5.0 stars

Don’t Destroy Me, currently playing at the Arcola theatre, is another older play dug out and revived in the hopes of examining lives of days gone by, but instead ending up feeling outdated and dramatically overdrawn.

Set in 1956, the play revolves around an immigrant family settling in a small flat in a Brixton tenement. The neighbours and landlady are all characters who seem more like pastiches of stereotypes than real people that are in any way believable. Conversations are very confrontational, everyone is all up in everyone’s business and freely judging away.

The tensions in the beginning of the play, a teenage boy moving in with his alcoholic father and free spirited step-mother in London in the hopes of experiencing a colourful life, pale in comparison to the highly strung drama that unfolds quickly but without tangible reason.

From the woman whose mind is off with the fairies since her lover didn’t return from the war to the abusive neighbour who is less than subtle about his affair with the boy’s young step-mother, every character is off the wall, explosive, and definitely not relatable.

I’m sure this play had its place and audience when it first came out and memories of the war and its real, lived consequences were fresher, but it did not connect with me in any way. The extreme stereotypes and predictable character collisions did nothing for me.

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