Summer Season | June to August Season 2013


by Chris Dunkley

Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 July 2013

The world premiere

“I can see this life for exactly what it is. I can now, anyway. We're walkin' a knife edge. One slip, one tiny slip an' we fall. An' there's a fuck of a long way to fall... even for us. An' we're kept there... on the knife edge... because they can tell yer which way t'go. Forward or down.”

The world premiere of a new play by award-winning playwright Chris Dunkley, following a hugely successful reading as part of Vibrant 2012 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, our annual festival of new writing.

Fin’s bright. Some would say gifted. But school isn’t going well. While he is busy coping with his mum’s depression and his younger brother’s drug problem, he can feel his future slipping away. The few jobs that are available in North London are part-time or temporary, and Fin knows his future will be a life of unstable pay, minimal social security benefits, no pension and eroding health care. He is the future of the emerging major class – living precarious lives at the mercy of the one percent: The Precariat.

With his world collapsing slowly around him, Fin finds hope and attraction with the girl at the fried chicken drive thru window. But even she can’t offer him a way out. Fin makes one final desperate bid to take control over the future – by giving his brother the chance to turn his life around...


Playwright Chris Dunkley's previous productions at the Finborough Theatre include Mirita which was named Time Out Critics' Choice, and transferred Off Broadway to the Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City, alongside his short play Lisa Says; and the world premiere of The Soft of Her Palm in October 2012. Other theatre includes Smallholding (Nuffield, Southampton & High Tide Festival Almost Blue (Riverside Studios), How to Tell the Truth (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Lucy is a Minger (Spinney Hill Theatre, Northampton) and The Festival (Wimbledon Studio Theatre). Radio includes The All Colour Vegetarian Cookbook and The Architects, both for the BBC. Chris has been Writer in Residence at Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton, and Writer on Attachment at the Royal Court Theatre. He was the 2002 winner of the International Student Playscript Competition and winner of the PMA Writers’ Award in 2001. 


Director Chris New trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. As an actor, theatre includes Lingua Franca (Finborough Theatre), The Pitchfork Disney (Arcola Theatre), Pictures from an Exhibition (Sadler’s Wells), Prick Up Your Ears (Comedy Theatre), Edward II , Hay Fever (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Reporter (National Theatre) and Bent (Trafalgar Studios) for which he was nominated for an Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Newcomer and the WhatsOnStage Theatregoers’ Choice Awards nomination for London Newcomer of the Year. Film includes the multi-award winning Weekend for which he was named one of The New York Times' 'Faces to Watch' and was also nominated for Best British Newcomer at the BFI London Film Festival. As a writer and director, his work includes the short film Ticking, which premiered at the Nashville Film Festival in April 2013, and the feature film Chicken.



“Focusing on the London riots, this play is incredibly important for anyone living in this city...With a superb cast and an incredibly moving story, this is a performance that should not be missed” Alice Fitzgerald, The Upcoming

“Absolutely heart-breaking...A wonderful piece – well cast, moving, enjoyable, thought provoking and darkly humorous.” Emily Pulham, Everything Theatre

“The most recognisable and upsetting aspect of the play is the fact that it is a reality to so many people right now. A thought-provoking and literal look at society." Symone Keisha, One Stop Arts "An ambitious attempt at capturing something of the modern malaise that is blighting so much of our disaffected youth...A pungently compelling depiction of the seemingly inescapable trap that social, economic and cultural deprivation creates.” There Ought To Be Clowns

“See this play with people who love a good discussion, as The Precariat will leave you turning the subject matter over and over again in your head. It's brilliant, well acted, and (tragically) true to life. Young, old, rich, poor - it doesn't matter - this will absolutely strike a nerve in you. Don't miss it.” Emily Pulham, Everything Theatre

“For me, the best plays are the ones that have you thinking about them days after you have watched them. They're the ones that make you question certain things after the drama has finished. They're the ones that almost give you a new or clearer outlook on life itself. The Precariat is one of those plays.” Symone Keisha, One Stop Arts

“Compelling and thrilling... The cast is phenomenal and, as the Finborough is such a small theatre, it feels tantalisingly intimate to the point where it actually hurts to watch... =As unpleasant and dark as it gets, it’s a brilliant insight into the lives of those involved in the riots.” Camilla Gurtler, A Younger Theatre

“A frighteningly real picture of disaffected youth and economic and cultural deprivation, of the creation of the “Precariat” as economists have begun to dub the new lowest class on the social scale that lives at the mercy of the top one percent.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“Chillingly real... A precise and inspired performance.” Symone Keisha, One Stop Arts

“Sparks fly through Chris Dunkley’s script almost as furiously as in the 2011 London riots which surround the action, with its Tottenham location.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviews Gate

“Dunkley has conceived an important piece of theatre that comments on the injustice of our society and how generations’ mistakes affect the young, breeding a new, dangerous class that have to fight for survival. It’s raw and ugly.” Camilla Gurtler, A Younger Theatre

“Dunkley is a writer I’ve come to admire...with a gift for combining powerfully intimate stories with a wider social context, and it is a similar model that he employs here.” There Ought To Be Clowns

“Scott Chambers is astounding as the story’s young protagonist.” Alice Fitzgerald, The Upcoming

“An incredibly well cast Scott Chambers plays the lead role of Fin, and his acting is simply sublime.” Emily Pulham, Everything Theatre

“Scott Chambers shows incredible vulnerability as young Fin. He leads us through the fall of his family and future with innocence and heart.” Camilla Gurtler, A Younger Theatre

“Scott Chambers is brilliant.” Symone Keisha, One Stop Arts

“Scott Chambers gives a compelling performance as Fin and with Kirsty Besterman as Bethan captures both the disfunction and the love and responsibilty that still binds them.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide 

“Scott intense, charismatic and can turn on a sixpence, a real find.” Partially Obstructed View

“Sharply observed dialogue captures a visceral sense of how disaffected this world is – Kirsty Besterman is blistering” There Ought To Be Clowns 

“Kirsty Besterman, who plays Fin's mother Bethan, is a joy to watch.” Symone Keisha, One Stop Arts

“Kirsty Besterman portrays a fireball in waiting, the actor’s dangerous edge pushing against the character’s depressed expectations.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviews Gate

“Played with wonderfully patronising smarm by Ben Mars.” Lou Flaxman, The Public Reviews

“Chris New’s production maintains the restlessness, with movement, disruptions of life and arguments.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviews Gate

“New’s use of the video screens is frequently witty and inspired, always feeling an integral part of the production rather than something bolted-on for effect, and he navigates the quicksilver shifts in tone well, balancing the grimness with an everyday levity, reminding us that lives like these are being lived all around us and are becoming increasingly hard to ignore” There Ought To Be Clowns


On Mirita

"Dunkley shows the impact of the war... with effective simplicity. An 80-minute drama that offers no simple moral choices but movingly conveys the corrosiveness of conflict." The Times

"Fine, focused writing, which pushes the story forward with every exchange, yet never settles for anything pat... Wonderful." Time Out – Critics' Choice

"This sharp and gripping play...It could hardly provide more timely theatrical therapy." What's On

"This tremendously moving indictment of war deserves as wide an audience as possible." The Stage

On The Soft of Her Palm

"Please don’t miss Chris Dunkley’s intriguing new play” UK Theatre

"A disturbingly intense and thought-provoking play.” The Public Reviews

"It is confrontational, deliberately so, and it is impossible not be gripped by the drama unfolding before you. It is particularly exciting to find a script in which the female lead is not predictable. Sarah’s character is daring and provocative whilst remaining credible and believable. This is really worth seeing.” Everything Theatre

"A fine young writer... Dunkley never sentimentalises through easy resolution or easy-shock toughness. He's a playwright who's aware of audience ways of responding and that's a fine gift." Reviewsgate

On Smallholding

“Captures… the stifling nature of both small-town life and addiction.”Alice Jones, The Independent

"Smallholding will surely become one of the hot tickets at High Tide, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this play gain well-deserved further life. Dunkley is proving to be a most skilful writer, probing mercilessly away at conventional iterations of society's ills and revealing just how close to home so many of them are. This is a hard-hitting yet ultimately uplifting piece of theatre." Ian Foster, There Ought To Be Clowns

"Near faultless dialogue... scored with some savagely dark humour." Steve Hawthorne, In Suffolk

"A dynamic script and a winning vehicle for two terrific actors." David Penrose, The News (Portsmouth)

"A fittingly high-quality end to Sandford's long tenure at the Nuffield Theatre. The intensity... grips the theatre." Timothy Ramsden, ReviewsGate


Kirsty Besterman | Bethan/voice of Sally

At the Finborough Theatre, Kirsty appeared in Foxfinder (2011).
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Other theatre includes The School for Scandal (Park Theatre), Dangerous Corner (Salisbury Playhouse), Playhouse Creatures (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Great Gatsby (Wilton’s Music Hall), The Importance of Being Earnest (Rose Theatre, Kingston), The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, Holding Fire! and Liberty (Shakespeare’s Globe), King Lear (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Rivals (Theatre Royal Bath), Othello (Cheek By Jowl), Amy’s View (Nottingham Playhouse), Plunder (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Edmond (Wilton’s Music Hall), Twelfth Night  (Ludlow Theatre Festival), People Are Stupid: A Political Memoir (Arcola Theatre) and Private Lives (Simply Theatre). Television includes Foyle’s War.

Scott Chambers | Fin

Theatre includes Chicken (Southwark Playhouse), Siamese Twins (Silver Linings Theatre and Theatro Technis) and Dick Whittington (West Midlands Children’s Theatre). Film includes Ticking, A Place For Us, Chicken and U Want Me 2 Kill Him? Radio includes Chicken and DNA.

David Hayler | Ryan

Trained at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. Theatre includes Telstar (Ambassadors Theatre and National Tour), Pravda (Chichester Festival Theatre and Birmingham Rep) and Dead People Laughing (Edinburgh Festival) Television includes Life’s Too Short, Derek, The Bill and The Hitch.

Ben Mars | Tim/voice of Balthazar

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include When Midnight Strikes (2007).

Trained at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts

Theatre includes Execution of Justice (Southwark Playhouse), Mummy Loves You (Union Theatre), Juicy Cherry (Old Red Lion Theatre), The Bite-Sized ‘Breakfast in Bedlam (Bedlam Theatre), Brainiac Live! (National Tour), Volpone (Wilton’s Music Hall), Newsrevue (Canal Café Theatre), The Snow Queen (National Tour), It’s Christmas, Carol! (Hen and Chickens Theatre) andThe Alchemist (Riverside Studios).

Film includes Cygnus, Two Men in a Cupboard, Sign Language, Wake, Life is a Circus and Second Post.

Television includes Vera, Macbeth, 55 Degrees North, Angel Cake and The Basil Brush Show.


Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 July 2013

Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm

Tickets £14, £10 concessions


Performance Length: Approximately 90 minutes with no interval.

Written by Chris Dunkley

Directed by Chris New

Presented by The Severed Duck in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.