"Gritty, Physical but Not Flawless"
by Debra Hall for remotegoat on 11/04/18

This interpretation of this menacing tale about a gang-war happening on England’s south coast is directed by Esther Richardson.

It is a low-life kind of carry on and Ida is right to believe that a death in the locality was a murder; she goes to great lengths to seek justice for the victim. Fearlessly, Ida crosses paths with the perpetrator and his gang, but she is also fearful for young Rose who has been innocently caught up in all the nastiness.

There’s a grittiness to Briony Lavery’s script. Gloria Onitiri (as Ida) gives the play some height, and Sarah Middleton (as Rose) some heart, but, otherwise, there’s little information I can share that wouldn’t bear some degree of criticism. The work of composer, Hannah Peel being an exception, as her atmosphere creating (rather than raw) soundtrack really works.

Timings are a bit out and occasionally action within scenes aren't flowing well, but there is definitely more than a hint of Peaky Blinders in the story-lines and in the story-telling and stage presentation. There is also a star-crossed love that is one-way felt.

Physicality in the performances is evident, though actor, J J Beswick as Pinkie, (especially when sporting his injuries as they mount up,) often has his head facing opposite to where his legs and feet are heading so looking like a cross between Russell Kane and Norman Wisdom in his body contortions. This kind of over-effort is not necessary and borders on the comical at times where this shouldn’t be the case, though his portrayal of who is a cruel, yet terribly tormented individual is full of pent up energy - and that is effective!

At The Birmingham Rep until 14 April 2018

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