Posts Tagged ‘Tim Woodward’

The Tricycle Theatre continues its pre-eminence as THE theatre which tackles current events and issues by staging objective and gripping evidence-based ‘enquiries’ and reviews.

Like other verbatim theatre, Gillian Slovo’s piece only uses the words of ‘stakeholders’ in the August 2011 riots – victims, rioters, the police, members of the communities in which they occurred and politicians. It takes no sides – indeed, it presents all sides – and you’re left to make up your own mind (or not). This might all sound very worthy and earnest, but it’s actually as gripping and thought-provoking as you want good drama to be – except it’s reality rather than fiction.

Director Nicolas Kent is the master of this type of theatre, and this staging (sadly, his last as Artistic Director of this venue) is as good as his best. Polly Sullivan has designed a simple circular space which allows the various protagonists to tell their stories amongst looted items and detritus, with the corrugated side walls actually on fire during the riots! It’s the evidence that counts, and the staging allows it to be presented so that you listen to it.

Fourteen actors play the 30 parts, sometimes unrecognisable from their last role to the next one. Dona Croll’s transformation from Diane Abbott to Camila Batmanghelidjh on the turn of a swivel chair is a highlight (!), Tim Woodward moves from Chief Inspector to Judge to Iain Duncan-Smith and Rupert Holliday Evans pulls off an equally impressive trio of Michael Gove, Simon Hughes and Sir Hugh Orde. Okezie Morro and Selva Rasalingam paint more personal portraits of people we don’t know but who were in different ways at the heart of the events in Tottenham.

It’s a privilege to live in a city where theatre can react more quickly and more objectively than ‘the establishment’ to what’s happening in our society. When they staged some of the ‘enquiries’ they were invited to perform in parliament and when they presented their history of Afghanistan they were asked to put on the plays in the Pentagon by a US General who wished the military had seen it before the invasion as it would have helped them understand what they were dealing with! This is more close to home, more current and therefore more vital. It has finished at the Tricycle but can be seen in Tottenham in January. If you weren’t in Kilburn, you should be there.

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