Inside - Review

Camden playwright Philip Osment offers a fascinating insight into the lives of fathers in prison – in INSIDE at the Roundhouse Studio Theatre in Chalk Farm Road, NW1

THIS riveting play about seven young fathers detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure deserves a run in the main Roundhouse space itself after this one in the tiny Studio Theatre upstairs.

Based on research with real prisoners, Inside’s inmates have signed up to a series of educational workshops to escape the boredom of the wing. However, role-plays and heated discussions lead them to confront agonising relationships with their kids and own dads.

Acclaimed Camden writer Philip Osment’s play began life in 2007 as part of a National Youth Theatre (NYT) outreach programme for disadvantaged young people, run by his co-director Jim Pope who also plays a group leader in this superb production.

Many of this cast are graduates of the NYT programme, and the first version of Inside played to a rapt audience at Cookham Wood young offenders’ institution. Reality and fiction playfully intertwine.


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Roundhouse audiences will find it easy to forget we’re watching actors and that the venue’s stark exposed brick walls and metal bars aren’t those of a genuine prison. The compelling performances are raw yet touching - now shouting, violent, now joking around, now emotionally shot to pieces.

For those who like their theatre realistic, relevant, heart-warming and heart-wrenching, this is the real thing. It just needs a bigger venue so more people can experience life Inside.

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