Thursday, 3 November 2011

truth and reconciliation - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Theatre Local, Peckham
Was Peen keen?

A cast of 22 fill a claustrophobic room wall to wall with emotion. In the space of 65 minutes you will hear laughter, feel tense, see tears, and sense fear.
You will move from South Africa to Northern Ireland, from Bosnia to Zimbabwe and back again with Rwanda in between; as you might expect, reconciliation is difficult to hear and the truth reluctant to be told. Once again, tucker green’s rhythmic and poignant writing doesn’t fail.

There is a huge sense of imprisonment and the darkened room perfectly creates the unforgettable anxiety as the audience waits for the first piece of dialogue; the first scene starts off quite slow, yet calm and lightly comic. Lisa Marie Hill defines the 5 countries we visit with writing on the walls and the effective use of 11 chairs; Matt Haskins does so with clever lighting design and put together with tucker green’s direction, we have a hard-hitting piece of theatre.

It’s difficult to know of any connection between the various stories, but you start and finish with the story of the South African Mama whose road to happiness seems endless. Played by Pamela Nomvete, she delivers little more than 5 minutes worth of speech full of emotional punch, and steals the show. A performance that has this far been somewhat confusing is made crystal clear as she sets the record straight whilst reducing many to tears at the same time. tucker green famously writes to bring attention to the reality of how black people (specifically women) live, which really hits home during this production: and although the play is somewhat repetitive, luckily it’s also very short.

This multi-sensory performance confronts you with a radical debate in today’s society; the play consists of a heavy dose of dominating testosterone counter-balanced by the women who stand their ground: “I will not stay standing to have you accuse me. And I will not sit there and be accused.” We are on occasion, however, left wanting more a little too often; a few of the stories end a little too suddenly which heightens the ambiguity overall.
            tucker green is successful in her ambitions to make connections with her audiences; there are continuous debates, discussions and reflections as you vacate The Bussey Building into the growing cultural hub of Peckham – where until now, you may not realise how relevant a location it truly is. Theatre Local is a brilliant initiative and this production says so; truth be told, it’s worthy of your bum on one of their hard chairs. 

1 comment:

Loz Street said...

I had in my head that you were keener than ***, Peen. Love the ending of this about the bum on the chair -- great minds think alike!