Ella Hickson’s ‘Eight’ at Trafalgar Studios

Ella Hickson’s ‘Eight’ swept the board at the Edinburgh Festival in 2008. An underground hit, propagated by sensational word-of-mouth, it went on to garner excellent reviews and win the three top awards at the world’s largest arts festival.

This thumpingly British show went stateside in January 2009 where it achieved huge critical acclaim and a sell-out run in New York’s PS122 Theatre. This summer, ‘Eight’ is coming home.

Hickson’s eight endearing characters offer deliciously cynical yet touching snippets of life in contemporary Britain, questioning what it is to be ‘normal’ in a generation where everything has become acceptable. From 7/7 survivors (“One of the finest pieces of writing I’ve yet heard about the aftermath of that terrible day” Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman) to ex-squaddies making friends in morgues, ‘Eight’ looks at Britain’s youth from a refreshingly offbeat angle.

Written and directed by 23 year old Londoner, Ella Hickson,‘Eight’ is a precocious and impressive debut show; Hickson is the youngest ever playwright to be published by Nick Hern, the UK’s leading performing arts publisher, “I’m trying to tackle the negative reputation my generation have earned themselves. We do have something intelligent to offer and we’re not afraid of asking tough questions.”

The format of the show lets the audience “choose their company” and vote to determine which four of the eight monologues are performed each night, creating their own bespoke hour of theatre. Formed around the results of a survey that asked twenty-somethings what defined their generation, Hickson has tried to answer their almost unanimous response of ‘apathy’, with a show that works to find the glimmers of faith amidst wholesale cynicism. ‘Eight’ moves seamlessly from morbidity to hilarity as its characters search for meaning in a morally, spiritually and literally bankrupt Britain. 

Press Night: July 8th, 7pm, Trafalgar Studios.  Contact Michael Whitham.

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