Imagine If

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Jadek: untangling trauma

South Leeds Life

28th October 2019

Jadek (Polish for grandfather) by Francesca Joy, opens with Tasha laying on the floor, curled up, in her 94 year old Grandad’s house.

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Jadek - 4* review from Mumble Theatre

Mumble Theatre

20th October 2019

York Theatre Royal’s studio is a pretty small performance space and tonight it was laid out in such a way that, as the audience filtered into the room, we had to walk across the set and through the lives of the characters we were yet to meet. In a way, the sight was quite shocking – we passed the skeletal ruins of a sofa, cardboard boxes and discarded items across the floor. And then, as we passed a coffee table, there lay the body of a young woman, positioned in such way that we had to step over or around her to reach our seats. This set up raised questions in our minds that we hoped would be answered, it forced us to take a walk through the lives of the characters of Jadek and enabled us to form an instant connection with them.

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While a familial relationship – albeit a seriously dark and disturbing one – is at the heart of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a new play from Yorkshire writer Francesca Joy explores the same subject from a very different place.

Jadek is a semi-autobiographical piece of work from Joy about a woman in her 20s moving in with her blind, 94-year-old Polish grandfather.

The play explores how the unexpected coming together of this odd couple affected both their lives. Like the Hull Truck production, audiences will see the way older and younger relatives impact on each other’s lives, although Joy’s play comes from a very different place.

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For many ex-offenders, readjusting to life outside prison can be extremely challenging. It is often a time when they are at their most vulnerable and the risk of re-offending is high. It is this transition period, and the challenges it presents, that is the focus of a scheme developed by Leeds-based theatre company Imagine If.

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This play follows the traumatic and tumultuous dynamics of an abusive relationship between a young couple from Leeds, Rosa and Niko, played by Francesca Joy and Prince Plockey with Ursula Mohan playing Rosa’s Grandma, Lily.

From the start of the play the audience is gripped in the thrilling rapture, observing what feels initially like the innocent intensity of a new love connection. Read more here…

Imagine If’s You Forgot the Mince presents a moving descent into an abusive relationship. ‘Love Me Tender’ by Elvis Presley ominously plays as we enter the space, setting the tone for this 60-minute piece that explores insecurities, violence and what it means to be in love with someone.

This ‘boy meets girl’ tale is set in Leeds, where Rosa (Francesca Joy) lives with her Grandma Lily (Ursula Mohan) when a window salesman called Niko (Prince Plockey) visits them. Their meeting leads to them becoming involved in a whirlwind romance that occurs alongside Rosa gearing up to attend university in London, something that kickstarts Niko’s insecurities. Read more here…

Amazingly thought-provoking, powerful and emotional, You Forgot The Mince was performed in Swindon on Saturday at the intimate Shoebox Theatre.

Theatre company and registered charity Imagine If was behind this production, which took us on a raw and honest journey between two young people, showing how their love for one another turned sour.

The play was inspired by real life events and told the tale of a modern abusive relationship.  Read more here…

The last time I left the theatre completely overwhelmed was in 2014 after National Theatre’s The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable.

For their latest production Leeds-based production company Imagine If operate on much a smaller scale than the National Theatre, so you can imagine my jubilation when I was left stunned by a cast of three at Swindon’s Shoebox Theatre.

You Forgot the Mince is a ground-breaking production which delves into, and explores, the complexities of abusive relationships. Read more here…

5-star Review

Imagine If’s production ‘You Forgot the Mince’ is the thought-provoking play, written by Leeds theatre maker Francesca Joy, that explores a modern-day abusive relationship. ‘You Forgot the Mince’ is mid UK tour and has recently had a successful month long run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The 70-minute long drama begins at a house in Leeds, where the 19-year-old Rosa lives with her grandma, Lily (Ursula Mohan) since her troubled mother Claire died some 3 years back. Rosa (played by Francesca Joy) is a bright young woman preparing to leave her home city of Leeds and go off to university in London. Niko (Prince Plockey) is a door-to-door window salesman surviving on commission, who infiltrates their lives after coercing Rosa to accept a ‘free, no obligation consultation’. Just as Rosa is looking forward to an exciting new future at University in London and living in Camden, she falls head over heels in love with the local lad Niko (who never made it past year 9 at school). Read more here…

 

4-star Review

Imagine If’s latest production You Forgot The Mince tells the story of a modern day abusive relationship. It’s a bleak reality for all too many, but the show is shot through with a warmth that belies the subject matter.

The hour long drama begins at a house in Leeds, where nineteen year old Rosa lives with her grandma, Lily. Niko (Prince Plockey) is a door-to-door window salesman surviving on commission. His cajoling of Rosa – by turns playful, then less so – to accept the ‘free, no obligation consultation’ is the first hint of a tendency to coercion. Read more here…

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