Arrows & Traps’ The Strange Case Of Jekyll & Hyde is one for a new generation: an endlessly thought-provoking, unsettling, enthralling production that’s not to be missed.
One Giant Leap is a very silly story with no other mission in mind but providing two hours of pure entertainment.
Over the last five years, 13-time Offie-nominated Arrows & Traps have become a regular fixture both on the London Fringe scene and on this blog. And the good news is they’re not going anywhere;
It may be called Precious Little, but this thought-provoking play at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre has plenty to say.
American playwright Madeleine George’s acclaimed 2009 three-hander Precious Little gets its UK premiere at Brockley Jack Theatre, where it’s now running until 15 June 2019. We caught up with artistic director Kate Bannister about why she wanted to bring the play to London. Time to get booking!
We’re counting down to the London premiere of American playwright Madeleine George’s 2009 all-female three-hander Precious Little this week. While you were enjoying your Bank Holiday Weekend, sneak a peek at what the cast was getting up to in rehearsals. Time to get booking!
Award-winning American playwright Madeleine George’s 2009 play Precious Little gets its London premiere this week at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre care of the five-star and 15-time Offie-nominated in-house team behind recent productions of Kes, Lifeboat and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Time to get booking!
Queen of the Mist is not without flaws and does feel longer than it needs to be, but the quality of this excellent production cannot be denied.
Taro focuses on an incredible life honoured by a gorgeous, goosebump-inducing production – you really don’t want to miss this one.
Gentleman Jack and Taro, both written by Ross McGregor, artistic director of Arrows & Traps Theatre Company, celebrate wildly different women but, at their heart, they share a common theme.
Written and directed by Ross McGregor, Gentleman Jack looks at the truth behind a woman who was a pioneer in entrepreneurship, mountaineering and in some ways ‘a modern lesbian’.
Gentleman Jack shines a light not only on Anne Lister’s life and legacy as both a woman and a lesbian, but also on the rigid 19th century attitudes that she set out to challenge.
If you enjoy a good festive fairytale but you’re not a fan of panto, Cinderella: A Fairytale, this year’s Christmas production at the Brockley Jack, offers an excellent alternative.
Philip Ridley’s Radiant Vermin, which sees a young couple resort to murder to secure their dream home, is a disturbing supernatural fantasy based on an equally depressing reality.
Powerful, polished and utterly absorbing, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu’s Sweet Like Chocolate Boy explores the changing face of Black British identity and protest over the last three decades, through the very different experiences of two young Londoners.
In the 90s, Bounty (Michael Levi Fatogun) is a quiet, well-spoken boy who just doesn’t quite fit, no matter how hard he tries. He’s aware of racism, even in his best friend James, but he doesn’t like to confront it – a reluctance that will come back to haunt both him and the people he loves. In the present day, Mars (Andrew Umerah) is street-smart and brimming with confidence as he sets out to meet his dream girl, Fantasia (Veronica Beatrice Lewis) for a protest march that simmers throughout the day with the potential for violence. Mars and Bounty seem at first glance to have little in common – until an explosive finale reveals that their lives and actions are far more intricately linked than we thought.
Photo credit: Aaron Kelly
The show’s lyrical and fast-moving script is set to a soundtrack of garage and jungle, which evolves with the story through the decades, and is accompanied by energetic choreography and movement sequences from Sean Graham. Under writer Fynn-Aiduenu’s direction (and the watchful eye of Alice Fofana as the omnipresent god-like figure of the DJ), the action is as non-stop as the dialogue, with the actors often given only seconds to slip on a new outfit and in doing so, embody a very different character. All rise to the challenge with incredible dexterity; such is the success of the play’s characterisation that it often feels like we’re watching a much bigger cast. Veronica Beatrice Lewis in particular shines as she reappears in the guise of brash Sandra, mysterious Fantasia and sweet-natured Michelle, as well as the overly aggressive mental health nurse trying to get Mars’ attention.
Andrew Umerah and Michael Levi Fatogun are equally impressive as the two central characters. Umerah owns the stage as the young, cocky Mars – but like the chocolate bar after which he’s named, beneath the tough facade there’s a softer centre. We learn that he met Fantasia while recently hospitalised after a bout of depression, and it’s clear that she holds significant power over him; his actions on the day of the march are motivated just as much by his need to be loved – by her or by anyone – as by any particular ideology. Meanwhile, Fatogun’s endearingly awkward Bounty struggles to understand his place within an increasingly politically active Black community; he just wants to get along with everyone, and his naive attempts to fit in and act the role he thinks he should play are simultaneously a source of humour and desperately sad to watch.
Photo credit: Aaron Kelly
Sweet Like Chocolate Boy isn’t always an easy play, not least to those of us for whom it’s an uncomfortable (but necessary) reminder of our own privilege. But with race as an important, current and ever-present backdrop, the play also doesn’t shy away from tackling other themes like mental illness, the need for human connection, and the struggle faced by so many young people in Britain today to find a place in the world where they can truly feel like themselves. This is a challenging and gripping piece of theatre from an exciting emerging voice; though it may be named for a 90s tune, it has just as much to say – and maybe even more – in 2018.
Sweet Like Chocolate Boy is at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre until 17th November.
Can’t see the map on iPhone? Try turning your phone to landscape and that should sort it. I don’t know why but I’m working on it… 😉
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A sensitive portrayal of devastating real events, Lifeboat is undoubtedly another triumph for the Brockley Jack team. Go and see it while you can.
Best known for their adaptations of literary classics, Arrows & Traps has taken a different approach in their latest production, The White Rose.
Next week marks a new chapter for Arrows & Traps, as they present The White Rose, the first original play written by Arrows founder and artistic director Ross McGregor.
Light and frothy it may be, but there’s something about Stepping Out that strikes a chord and may even bring a tear to the eye. But all that aside, it’s also great entertainment.
The Night Alive is a poignant, humorous and intriguing portrayal of five unhappy people whose lives are changed in one fateful moment.
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