Review: The Border; Burnley Youth Theatre

The Border, presented by Burnley Youth Theatre, is a tale of division and discrimination. (s)
The Border, presented by Burnley Youth Theatre, is a tale of division and discrimination. (s)

In an age demonising Islam and the working-class, it was wonderful to see young actors handling the issues of segregation and discrimination with maturity.

Swimming in a culture of selfies and reality stars, youngsters often get a bad rap. But The Border, presented by Burnley Youth Theatre last Friday, showcased the group’s political and economic awareness.

Telling of a society fractured into East and West - one side impoverished - it’s a play of realism; but one flooded with waves of expressive dance, rhyme and figurative language. This clever juxtaposition - kudos to directors Oliver Daley, Naomi Jayne Humphreys and Tara Williams - captured the war of emotions felt within divided communities: the hard lines of fear, pain and hatred; the softness of love and empathy.

Characterisation was the play’s greatest strength: full-bodied, not archetypal; existing on a continuum, not in a dichotomy of good or bad. Captured was a truth of life: characters were complex and rich; fear and discrimination painted as reductive and irrational.

The entire cast - Lily Roberts, Hakeem Khan, Shannon Kostilek, Georgia Rivett, Mia Le’Febour, Molly Rebanks, Emily Riley, Harriet Tucker, Leon Neal, Molly Rebanks, Alicia Weston-Ruiz, Samaira Asif, James Best, Molly Heywood, Alyssa Fort, Grace Oakley, Ash Greenwood, Kayley Lonsdale, Shakira Khan, Georgia Parry, Sally Worden, William Hutson and Amy Floyd - confidently conveyed complex and difficult emotions.

It’s terrific these future adults have shown such insight into human nature and maturity in exploring the factors upholding hate in society.