Loser, Redbridge Drama Centre – Review

“A real loser is someone who’s so afraid of not winning, he doesn’t even try.”Little Miss Sunshine
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Megan Hockley

In many different cultures, competitiveness is deeply rooted in the subconscious. Sports are seen as a way to validate one’s worth and even outside of this arena, expectations are placed upon people to meet goals that society deems as necessary. In Stephen King’s IT, the ‘uncool’ kids stick together out of necessity to form ‘The Losers’ Club’, while in Little Miss Sunshine, Richard the self-help ‘guru’ thinks: “Sarcasm is losers trying to bring winners down to their level.” Funny how it’s the ‘winners’ who decide who are the ‘losers’… In Megan Hockley’s show Loser, she takes a candid look at her own life and how she measures up to society’s arbitrary goals.

Candid and self-deprecating, Hockley builds an instant rapport with the audience. Initially beginning with the aspiration to be a sporting success, Hockley goes on to talk about her own ‘status’ within the family – compared to her older, ‘together’ siblings who are given a big thumbs up by her parents. Will she as the ‘baby’ of the family ever be seen as capable and ‘grown up’?

MH-IMG_0721And like any budding actor who isn’t in the ‘top 1 percentile’, Hockley has had her fair share of ups and downs in her chosen profession. Certainly now as the weather’s getting colder, most relatives’ thoughts turn to Yuletide TV schedules and the question every actor dreads to hear over Christmas lunch: “When are we going to see you on EastEnders?”

If Hockley wasn’t an actor, what else would be her ideal vocation? A ninja perhaps. Or being a detective like Jane Tennison in Prime Suspects would be cool. However, that would involve having to deal with all sorts of unsavoury characters face to face. Best to stick to ‘playing’ a detective…

Taking further inspiration from her own life, Hockley demonstrates her ‘acting prowess’ by conducting amusing readthroughs with members of the audience, based on ‘real events’ in her life. On each occasion she plays someone other than herself to demonstrate her acting ‘versatiliy’…

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Hockley also raises a point about women who are ‘successful’ at keeping their weight off. Even when they ‘win’ in this activity, they ‘lose’ because of the increased harassment from ‘interested’ men…

Following an incident that ‘doesn’t go according to plan’, the audience gets to share their most embarrassing stories in ‘confessional karaoke’. Judging by the number of these stories, which usually end up on Facebook – a platform where people supposedly only show their ‘best lives’ – there are an awful lot of ‘losers’ in the world. But if everyone is a ‘loser’, surely no one is…

© Michael Davis 2018

Loser ran at Redbridge Drama Centre on 21st September.

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