Biscuits for Breakfast at Hampstead Theatre review | Theatre | Entertainment

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Paul’s a trainee chef having learnt his skills from his fisherman father who made him swear to “dream big, be better”.

Joanne’s experiences in foster care have given her the wariness and tough hide of a survivor.

When redundancies and inflation threaten their idealistic relationship, Paul is paralysed by self-pity while Joanne goes to work in a garlic bread factory to make ends meet.

The conflict between shame and necessity, pride and survival are threaded through the play to illustrate how hard it is for young people to reconcile the prevailing economic conditions with dreams of a fulfilling future.

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Brilliantly directed by Tessa Walker it is effectively designed by Cecilia Carey on a traverse stage that changes from a cramped apartment to a discotheque and from an abandoned trawler to a beach through inventive lighting and sound effects.

The absence of actual food – preparation, cooking and eating are all conveyed through dance gestures – delivers a double whammy when there is no food to be had.

Farr overeggs the agony towards the end and while I was never fully convinced by the use of tape recorded voices of young Paul and his Dad from the past it is a brave play, courageously performed.

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