Beware the Kick by Karen Laws and Fiona Evans

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BBC Radio 3, 25 October 2009
Recorded in front of a live audience at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival, Beware the Kick told a stark tale of a twenty-first century working class family living somewhere in the north-east. Jaden (Rosie Stancliffe), an unmarried mother of three, shacks up with her latest boyfriend Mark (Matthew McNulty), a fitness fanatic and proud possessor of a pit-bull terrier but with no aptitude as a father-figure. The children are allowed to run wild - which leads to predictable consequences. Audrey (Judy Earl) calls in the social workers, led by Ben (Tony Nelson). Jaden's mother Yvonne (Jane Holman) takes charge of Jaden's baby Nathan in the vain hope that she can offer some security. However the police and the social services force her to restore the baby to its mother. Meanwhile Jaden gorges herself on a cocktail of drink and drugs, while protesting all the while that her main concern is for her  children's welfare. Nathan eventually dies as a result of a horrific accident as Jaden's eldest boy Kyle (Mark Watson) shuts the baby in the cupboard as a 'punishment' for misbehaving. Kyle simply follows Mark's example.
Based on extensive collaboration with local people, Laws' and Evans' play showed how most people cannot enjoy the free thinking asssociated with Radio 3's festival, but rather struggle from day to day simply to survive. Even the most well-meaning social workers cannot alleviate their problems. Neither Jaden nor Mark can be blamed for their shortcomings; they are simply products of a no-hope culture in which distinctions between right and wrong no longer hold sway. The director of this production was Kate Rowland.

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