A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Maggots

Maggots
1 February 2024
Lion & Unicorn Theatre
4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Based on the tragic, true story of Sheila Seleoane, Maggots follows the story of residents in a South London building wondering just what exactly happened to their neighbour. There are content warnings for discussion of death and adult themes, so it’s not exactly light entertainment.

When the woman in flat 61 hasn’t been seen in a while, and a sickly sweet smell starts to permeate the surrounding flats and hallways, the residents try to raise the alarms with the housing association, the council, even the police. But through disinterest and bad communication between different agencies, nothing is being done about this. Even when maggots appear in the surrounding flats and number 61’s mail piles up in her mailbox, the residents are fobbed off with excuses and disinterest. For months. Then years.

The story is told from the perspective of the other residents, focussing on their lives, their struggles, their thoughts and helplessness in the situation. It’s a very pared down production that relies on words and well timed silences to peel back the layers and ask some difficult questions. It’s presented extremely sensitively, not exploiting the true events, but spinning a story around it, and ultimately placing the importance on community and togetherness.

I was a bit worried going into this play, having had a close family member who wasn’t found for a handful of days when they had died and wondering if this would hit those sensitive spots in a bad way. But Maggots is told in such a deeply human and empathetic way, it touched me in a positive way rather than digging into wounds. There’s humour in the production as well, lightening the dark mood effortlessly.

Ultimately, Maggots is a wonderful story of a community finding its connection through tragedy that is presented with so much care and humanity, it’s a beautiful little play.

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