Posts Tagged ‘Kev McCurdy’

It was great to bring the average age up, a lot, at a theatre I’ve been visiting regularly for over 40 years, back after more than two years, for a terrific new play by Tyrell Williams.

The audience sits on four sides of a rectangular space representing the red pitch, a football ground in South London where Sunday league games are played, and more importantly the knock-abouts where they hone their stills. All three friends dream of becoming professional footballers and they enact these dreams between scenes where they play, joust and banter and occasionally fall out or fight. We learn about their families and the gentrification of the area. Their blocks are being replaced one by one, but their relocation is a threat to their way of life. Even the red pitch, an important community resource, is endangered. When a soccer scout comes to check them out, it proves divisive.

The dialogue crackles and sparkles, often uproariously funny, but not at the expense of characterisation or story, though I’d be lying if I said I understood every word given the speed of delivery and the use of slang. There’s a real authenticity to it, and bags of energy throughout. Both the ball play and fights were superbly staged (Movement – Dickson Mbi, Fights – Kev McCurdy) and the three young actors – Francis Lovehall, Emeka Sesay & Kedar Williams-Sterling, all playing below their age – are simple terrific. The audience really connected with the characters and the empathy was palpable. The contrast with my experience at Hampstead Downstairs on Saturday was really striking. Playwright Tyrell Williams, director Daniel Bailey and all three actors are talents to watch.

All those plays over all those years were swept away. I felt I was back at the cutting edge of London theatre, which is why I started going to Bush in the first place, and to experience it in a young audience who were clearly captivated and entertained was a privilege. The spontaneous standing ovation said it all. You’d be mad to miss this, but its only on until Saturday.

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