RAZ is part play part poem that follows Shane, a young truck driver, as he embarks on a big Friday night out on the town. Jim Cartwright’s 50 minute monologue is performed by his talented son, James and it really becomes clear as the play progresses that father and son are as nuanced and sharp as each other. James Cartwright plays Shane, and is able to embrace the northern soul at the heart of so many of his father’s plays. RAZ almost seems to be a contemporary version of Road: the perfect combination of ultra-realism and the rhythmic undertones. Both Cartwrights are gifted with the ability to poeticize the everyday grubbiness of Northern life where the hero wears a grey uniform for five days of the week.
But Shane is not the only character to visit the stage; James Cartwright is mesmerizing as he leaps from welsh taxi driver to drunken kebab-munching girls. His brilliant performance, coupled with the truthfulness of the script (realistic phrases pop up continually, showcasing Jim Cartwright’s ability to adapt to a youthful, contemporary audience) creates an absorbing show. You find yourself completely involved in the ups and downs of Shane’s night. It’s quite special.