With political marches becoming more regular recently, Sharon Clark sets her new play The Biting Point in another time when often-violent confrontation broke out on London streets, the early 1980s. Leading up to one such march we see three characters in their private lives: Dennis (Gyuri Sarossy) has a younger girlfriend who won't seem to leave his flat and who may be blackmailing him in some way; Malc (Charlie Hollway) has been looking after his mentally disabled sister (Sarah Hoare) since both their parents did runners; and Ruth (Lizzie Roper) is being stalked. None of this is the full story but finding that out is pretty much the point, as is how they'll affect each other's lives in the upcoming march, which looks like it'll be a violent clash between the National Front and the Anti-Nazi League. Despite the politics that's always looming, Clark focuses almost entirely on their home lives, making the play be about how someone's personal circumstances can push them towards one political ideology or another.
Dan Coleman's production is very well-performed and there's a couple of really heartbreaking scenes from Roper and the talented-and-sexy-double-threat Charlie Hollway. Overall though the play doesn't seem to say much and as the various plot strands unfolded I never felt confident that Clark would bring them all together satisfactorily (although as it happens she does) and as such found it hard to really engage. These puzzle-like plays can be so rewarding but although it doesn't fail, The Biting Point doesn't quite feel as if it clicks. And while I loved designer Mark Friend's set of a fractured Union Flag, there's no real period feel to the production, unusually for something set in such a vivid time.
The Biting Point by Sharon Clark is booking until the 12th of March at Theatre 503.