Emma Adams’ Animals is the latest play to benefit from Theatre 503’s commitment to staging new work by emerging playwrights. It is an admirable philosophy and, judging by the near full house on a Wednesday night for an unsung play, one that appears to be attracting a supportive audience.
For the regular theatre goer it offers a respite from the seasoned polish of restaged classics in central London theatres (that said I am now waiting sixteen months to see Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer) and provides a welcome opportunity to simply enjoy the process of watching a story being told to you for the first time.
Watching emerging playwrights is akin to entering a lucky dip. You buy a ticket knowing that for the 95 times out of a hundred you leave having watched an average play, eventually you will be in the audience watching this generation’s equivalent of Pinter’s The Birthday Party or Sarah Kane’s Blasted.
Even if the play doesn’t quite hold together, there is still the chance to watch the formation of a new writing talent. This is certainly the case with Emma Adams’ Animals. It is a play that feels heavy with the influences of others and watching it provides an interesting chance to see an individual’s voice beginning to define itself.