Review The Silence and the Noise, Tom Powell, Pentabus, co-produced with Rural Media. Review by Helen Joy

A review of the new digital play, exploring where film and theatre meet, follows two teenagers, one a drug runner and the other the daughter of an addict, as they navigate a dangerous adult world.

Do cats tan? Could you bring me out a blanket?

Tom Powell, The Silence and The Noise, film.

This Be The Verse


They fuck you up, your mum and dad.   

    They may not mean to, but they do.   

They fill you with the faults they had

    And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn

    By fools in old-style hats and coats,   

Who half the time were soppy-stern

    And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.

    It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

    And don’t have any kids yourself.

‘’There are 8 reasons why teenagers take drugs: other people, misinformation, popular media, escape and self medication, boredom, rebellion, instant gratification, lack of confidence.’’

Two teenagers ‘both alike in dignity’, acting out the roles they think they should be playing and railing against the tiny crooked worlds they inhabit on instinct and experience unbalanced and afraid.

Daize and Ant , star crossed indeed and lost in an adult place where parenting and drugs are failing them and where hope and stability come from each other.

This Shakespearean duologue creeps under the skin like a needle. It is a slippery painful rush of child and adult feeling its way through the awkward brilliance of its performers. Exceptional and tragic, closed and candid, ‘you’re not a laugh a minute you know’.

I am reminded of being a lay member on the local restorative justice panel and wishing I could magic better lives for the young people we met. These teenagers couldn’t just say No, their worlds were governed differently. Victims of circumstance.  I think of them often and wonder what we should do differently as we are the village raising the child and we have a combined responsibility.

Powell forces me to return to the debates in my head – where does responsibility lie and what does it look like? Is Ant so upset by his mother’s infidelity that he looks to make money in the easiest and quickest way (sic), justifying his decisions within a dubious moral framework? How does his complicated and dangerous choice compare to Daize’s addicted and failing mother which leaves her daughter to defend herself with a knife and eat cat food? No one should have to eat cat food. It is an axis on which the play turns.

It is all relative. It is not what happens but how we deal with it. This film schleps through nature and nurture and their consequences on transitional minds.

The story telling is adept – our actors are acting out teenagers acting as adults and breaking into juvenility. It is the most powerful and upsetting screenplay. Like those young people all those years ago in the justice system, I want to take them home and protect them, restore their innocence in some naïve and offensive way. That is how convincing they are. 

But Ant takes Daize home and the bravado and the arguments become a search for the relative peace of a family set up, leaving death and chaos behind them. Perhaps this Romeo and Juliet get a happier ending.

Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.

‘’Teenagers in an impossible situation. They might be each other’s only hope of escape.’ Tom Powell,

Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

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