Wednesday, May 12

Crongton Knights

- March 5, 2020

Pilot Theatre’s tale of gang war on a south London estate takes the audience on a tense and menacing journey of rivalry and teenage angst. The young kids set out to redress a wrong and on the way get deeper and deeper into trouble as the night explodes into riot and looting.

To deliver this they use physical theatre, dance and song. The physicality of the whole is for the most part well balanced and well delivered although during the fight sequences one couldn’t help feeling that more imaginative lighting might have helped. The dance element is minimal but when in play works well and is appropriate.

It took me a little while to tune in to the rap nature of the text and in places diction did become an issue for me and resulted in me missing lines, often this because of the rapid fire nature of the delivery, but if those words are important, as they should be, then this is something I felt could and should be resolved.

So on to the song, and with no band this is all delivered a cappella with elements of beatboxing to add rhythm. The cast’s voices have a raw beauty to them, some finer than others but as a whole there is a strange haunting beauty to this that I really enjoyed and really added to the menace of the evening.

Performances are good but from time to time I felt that the actors struggled with the often clumsy script. And that script is littered with unresolved issues and sadly  one or two cliches. Kate Donnachie is excellent as Bushkid but the hints that her family are perhaps less disadvantaged than the others is rather thrown away and not explored. Olisa Odele plays McKay with real skill and conviction but there is here an element of camp that hints at homosexuality but once again this is never developed, perhaps the reason being that his sexuality is never challenged by his friends but surely it would be by his enemies who merely refer to his weight.

All this said Crongton Knights is a thought provoking piece of work and a solid slab of theatre that kept my attention throughout.

Theatre Royal Brighton

3 March

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★½☆

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