Touring – reviewed at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Esther Richardson, Brighton Rock is a hybrid of dark, sinister eye-opening gangland activity and overt, harrowing vulnerability. Punctuated with dramatic, rousing live incidental music from on-stage musicians, Hannah Peel (who also composed the music), James Field and Laura Groves.
Set in and around Brighton with the pier featuring as the focal point, the original story was written by Graham Greene in 1938. The text is fuelled by slang which is used with regularity by the mob at the hub of the piece. This takes some adjusting to. However, it only took a few uses of terms such as ‘Polony’ and ‘Milky’ to become accustomed to the patter.
Pinkie, played by Jacob James Beswick, summarises the key points of the story from the beginning. All of the early revelations involve death, thus setting the tone of the production.
Pinkie is heading up one of the local mobs since the recent demise of the previous leader and is out for revenge for his fallen leader – ‘Fred’ is going to pay for the ‘mistake’. It also becomes clear that Fred is not who he seems, although whoever he is, he’s sure of one thing