Andy Day’s Phoenix Rising set in the Smithfield’s Car Park was a very interesting watch!
I was lucky enough to win two tickets to go see it thanks to The Stage.
So without knowing anything about the play, I grabbed my mate and we trotted off to go see what this show was all about. We had to meet the organisers in a pub prior, then they walked us to a car park underneath a meat market and took all of our bags. Me and my mate were super excited because we’ve never seen a play like this before and I’m always down for any immersive shows if I can find them.
Anyway, as the action began we were herded from location to location to watch each scene and watching it this way felt like the audience were really peeking into the events.
The play starts on a high note, Callum (Aston McAuley) knows he has a natural talent at sprinting and dreams to sprint professionally. Scene by scene we start to see how his dreams become something unattainable because of who he is and where he was born. How his relationship with his estranged, mentally unstable mother has effected him and how being in the care system has isolated him, making him believe no one loves him.
I felt like first world poverty and the care system were completely exposed in this show; how the system does not nurture children in their care enough and how the system offers no rehabilitation for mother’s that have given up their children because of mental health problems so they can get back on their feet. The underlying problem in this whole play relates to fundamental issues with first world poverty and I found this play incredibly interesting to watch because it is such a raw gripping performance about real things, happening to real people behind closed doors, now.
I left the play thinking…
If Callum had more support from the institutions created to nurture him and if his mother too had the support she needed to get better, would this have been the end?
If you get a chance to watch this play, I highly recommend it!