Scratched Out has been described as an Urban Musical, directed and composed by Richard Hale with lyrics by London spoken word favourite, Dean Atta. The scratch performance I saw of this show showed a great deal of theatrical potential. There was a real energy and honesty which was hard to resist. Scratched Out tells the story of six young people who want to make it in the music industry and for some making it through day to day is enough of a challenge. The show starts with a musical and dance number. The audience could not deny their obvious enthusiasm. Like the best musicals, the emotional exposition is told through the songs.
Scenes change rapidly and the focus of the piece is on inter-personal relationships rather than a convoluted plot line. The script works best when it fully exploits rhyme, keeping both pace and hip-hop at the heart of it.
‘I’d rather get high than get laid/ I don’t play that game, I just relax and maintain’ displays the neat description of character often seen in Scratched Out adding real texture to the show.
Jordan Pitt, in the role of Jason, has a shuddering stage presence. Rudwone Huyghue as Luke talks about why he wants what he wants with such urgency 'I've been scratched out all of my life'. This poignant sentiment continues when he tells us he craves 'a confidence that will warm the coldest winters.'
Luke is the voice of thwarted hope and his story is an unhappy reminder of so many city lives. 'What's the point of dreaming if you have to wake up to a nightmare?' he asks.
The female characters Jenny and Amanda are juxtaposed to full dramatic effect. Whilst Amanda prefers to wear loose and none revealing sportswear Jenny tries to encourage her to dress in more feminine manner. Amanda retorts that she is not ’scared of being a girl’ but that she cannot understand the reasoning of spending ‘too much for too little material’.
The show does have a tragic and heart-breaking end and I wondered if it was possible to convey the 'realness' without having a senseless death at its culmination. Sadly I think not. Scratched Out is a brave step away from happy-go-lucky West End theatre and for this alone it must be applauded.
I would highly recommend 'Scratched Out'. It's sincerity is unbeatable, and whilst this passionate musical does not shy away from difficult truths it is also very entertaining. I left feeling both saddened by the outcome but determined to contribute to positive change. You can book tickets for Scratched Out here