Review: My Generation, West Yorkshire Playhouse

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This is a seriously oddly brilliant, anarchically fun production which seems self-aware and innocent all at once.

Moments of angry polemic mix happily with tales of domesticity – it is not a play that will allow itself to simply wash over an audience. You are going to have an opinion about it. Not the greatest surprise, perhaps, given that it is written by a member of one of the most influential bands to emerge from the punk-anarchy movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Alice Nutter was a founding member of Chumbawamba and now the writer of a new play for Leeds, My Generation.

It is very much a Leeds play, set firmly in the city, but by remaining focussed on a single city and a single family (though a vastly extended one), it reflects stories that concerned the whole of the UK at points in our social history. Few remained untouched by the miners’ strikes, or rave culture and before that, in Yorkshire certainly, few who were around at the time can fail to remember the grip the Ripper had on several communities.

Nutter’s play reflects all of these events and explores how they had an impact on the life of a “family”. Having lived in a squat in Leeds, Nutter knows whereof she writes. She also has – just – enough distance to be able to recognise that a kung-fu lesbian setting up an all-woman commune is a character that is perilously close to being a self-parody.

The acting is of seriously high quality from the whole cast and, with Max Webster at the helm, this is as vigorously a directed piece of theatre as you are likely to see.

To Oct 26.