Choice: Theatre - Junk

Junk, Bristol Old Vic (0117-987 7877)

As Tennessee Williams observed: "Human beings cannot bear too much reality." That might explain some of the horrified reaction to Melvin Burgess's novel about heroin addiction winning the Carnegie Medal for Children's Literature. Try Daisy Goodwin, editor of the BBC's Bookworm. "It is drug tourism for middle-class children. Every year now this prize goes to a book that has the goriest, socially-shocking subject matter, and I'm not sure that's what children's literature should be about." However, the chairwoman of the Youth Libraries Group judging panel described it as "an outstanding, ground-breaking book - an extraordinary mixture of social commentary and gripping drama." Enter John Rettalack, who has adapted and directed it for the stage. In his, dare I say it, "rave" review, Paul Taylor praised this "excellent... artfully constructed adaptation", the "superb company" and "the splendidly unpatronising impersonation of teenage drive and confusion. A truly cautionary tale."

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