Grey Days

Racism, love and political correctness combine for prescribed disaster

Review by Thomas Hutchinson | 10 Aug 2007

The most frustrating thing about the Fringe is the missed opportunities. Too often, the best ideas slip through the fingers of could-be-fascinating plays, or else they lie concealed and unnoticed by artists who drift thoughtlessly across their own creations. Grey Days has the former problem. Far from atrocious, it is disappointingly wrong-footed, becoming opaque when it is striving for total transparency.

Racism and its dutiful attendant, political correctness, are the explicit themes of this story of love which curdles into fear. Scot is a blockish young Londoner who kick-starts an affair with Candis, a black American who he first encounters in a nightclub, and later on a railway platform. Romantic inarticulacy follows, then declarations of love. Scot ditches his wife, and, as the race-row begins in earnest the play tumbles towards prescribed disaster.

Though there is one moment of exciting direction - the stage seems to rock the characters right into the wings – the play is otherwise flat, and so content with its pointed attitude to ingrained racism that it fails to say anything original about an issue we all already know too well. Prosaic design and a script that is filled with monosyllabic, stylised language both undermine a story that is involving, but which needs more eloquence and more exploration of the complex problem of racism.