Fracked! now on at the Cambridge Arts Theatre

PUBLISHED: 11:09 24 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:09 24 May 2017

Anne Reid and James Bolam in 'Fracked!', picture: Catherine Ashmore

Anne Reid and James Bolam in 'Fracked!', picture: Catherine Ashmore

copyright CATHERINE ASHMORE

Starring seasoned thespians, James Bolam and Anne Reid, this hilarious black comedy runs until Saturday.

Anne Reid as Elizabeth in 'Fracked!', picture: Catherine AshmoreAnne Reid as Elizabeth in 'Fracked!', picture: Catherine Ashmore

Following a sold-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre, Fracked! Or Please Don’t Use the F-Word now, to give it its full title, is now visiting Cambridge as part of a major UK tour.

Alistair Beaton’s provocative new comedy takes place in an idyllic English village threatened by an energy company intent on drilling for shale gas.

Anne Reid plays Elizabeth, a retired, formerly mild-mannered, academic who finds herself transformed into an angry protestor.

While her increasingly grumpy husband (James Bolam) longs for the quiet life, Elizabeth soars to fame via social media.

James Bolam as Jack in 'Fracked!', picture: Catherine AshmoreJames Bolam as Jack in 'Fracked!', picture: Catherine Ashmore

Desperate to get planning permission, hard-nosed PR men team up with a corrupt local councillor to persuade the villagers that fracking is a good thing. Elizabeth is having none of it.

A much-praised political satirist, Beaton’s television work includes the BAFTA-nominated The Trial of Tony Blair and Spitting Image, and plays such as the West End hit Feelgood.

Fracked! is raucously funny and Bolam and Reid are both outstanding. Beware, there is a fair amount of swearing over the two-and-a-bit hours (courtesy of Joe the PR man, played by Harry Hadden-Paton) so that may not be to everyone’s taste.

A standout scene involved Joe and Neville, the corrupt councillor (played by Tristram Wymark) who is wined and dined by Joe in an attempt to ‘butter him up’ and get him onside.

Steven Roberts as the waiter in the scene is also highly amusing, his movements drawing a great deal of laughter from the audience.

Not only is Fracked! wonderfully comical and entertaining, it is also quite educational, and I came away a lot more knowledgeable about fracking than I had been prior to the performance.

In short, a must-see piece of theatre.

Fracked! Or Please Don’t Use the F-Word is on at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, May 27.

Show starts at 7.45pm and there is a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Tickets are priced from £18 to £38 and include a £3 per-ticket booking fee.

cambridgeartstheatre.com

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