At the MacOwan Theatre, Robin Soans's Mixed Up North is a mix of hard facts and self-reflexive theatricality, premiered in a production by Max Stafford-Clark. A vibrantly talented cast of LAMDA students portray a Burnley youth group who are about to rehearse a show on mixed relationships. But the star walks out and instead the company convene a Q & A session.
A portrait emerges of Burnley since the 2001 riots. We hear about the difficulties of interracial marriage (and the success-stories). An Asian youth attacks the group for assuming that mixed relationships are morally superior. We are given a shocking insight into "grooming" – the exploitation of underage white girls by Asian men. And we see the tricky disputes between those who want to improve the commercial image of the town by playing down the problems and those who want to tackle the problems head-on. In a production that's splendidly acted across the board, Judith Amsenga excels as the genuinely good Christian do-gooder who runs the outfit.
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