A while ago I lamented “Where have all the protest songs gone?” Well, I am happy to say, gone to rap poets, every one. Or perhaps, more broadly, to slam poetry. The new Joni Baezs, Joanie Mitchells, Dylans and Woody Guthries are using the joy of words to raise their voices against the imposed restrictions and expectations of an image driven, consumerist world.
This I learnt in the small confines of the Fusebox at the Factory Theatre where The Kings Collective warmed up the audience with eight poems by four powerful poets, whose punchy lyricism pulled us every which way emotionally. It was a perfect set-up.
Then, Wasted by Kate Tempest exploded onto the stage.
A fusion of poetry, movement and theatrical form, Wasted calls for the generation of millennials to resist the inertia of their lives and make a decision, take action. Danny (Jack Crumblin), Ted (David Harrison) and Charlotte (Eliza Scott) are 20 somethings, friends since childhood, brought together on the anniversary of the death of the fourth member of their group. This is the catalyst which forces each of them to question the life they are living – and Tempest has given them the most eloquent street poetry to draw their characters and explore their predicament. With passion, sincerity and exceptional level of skill, Crumblin, Harrison and Scott pull us into the world of their characters and we fall in love a little with them as they struggle with their pain and predicament. Their mastery of the London dialect is thoroughly convincing (well done coach Linda Nicholls-Gidley), their physicality is complete.
Too often set, sound and lighting upstage, rather than complement and support a show. Not so the work of Tegan Nicholls, Tyler Ray Hawkins and Nicholas Fry. In a minimalist, metallic environment light and sound play out, creating a world which is superficial and intimidating. Unforgiving.
The real star of this show is the language – the poetry, the rhythm and imagery, and Elsie Edgerton-Till’s sensitive and sympathetic direction realises all the potential of the script, bringing all theatrical elements together to create an evening of exciting, engaging theatre.
It has been a long time since I have been so moved by a production. A long time since I felt a second curtain call deserved. We, the audience, would have given them a third. It deserves a third curtain call.
This is Shakespeare for our times. Human predicament examined through powerful poetic language and finessed action. There is a sense of danger here – that we are journeying into parts of the human psyche which will frighten us a little. Confront us. Challenge us. At the same time, it entertains us.
The King’s Collective aim to present theatre which is accessible to all audiences and to this end there is a “pay what you can” initiative. I appreciate their reaching out to embrace and encourage young artists and audiences but feel that providing all information online a little exclusive. I really don’t want to have to get my phone at a performance to read a program. A little A5 size handout would have been welcome.
That aside, this is exciting theatre and not to be missed. Get online and book your ticket. Make the time. Find the time. You may be daunted by the issues but you will uplifted by the theatrical experience.
Kate Tempest – performance poet, rapper and novelist is a stunning talent. If the future of theatre is in her hands and the like, then it is a brilliant future.
Photo Credit: Robert Catto
Kate Stratford – Theatre Now & On The Town
1 – 9 December 2017
Thur 30th 7pm, Fri 1st 6:30, Sat 2nd 6:30, Sun 3rd 7pm, Mon 4th 7pm, Thu 7th 7pm, Fri 8th 6:30, Sat 9th 7pm
Venue: Factory Theatre, Marrickville
Theatre Company: Kings Collective