King’s Head Theatre, London – until 21 September 2019
World’s End is a new play written by James Corley. Set in London in the late ’90s, amid the horror that occurred in Kosovo, the story follows two single parents, their 19-year-old boys and their journey towards the end of the millennium. Ylli and his son Besnik are Kosovar Albanians living in the Worlds End estate in Chelsea. Viv and her son Ben move next door to Ylli and Besnik, and the story begins.
Ben and Besnik (Tom Milligan and Mirlind Bega) are fantastic. Their characters have a lot of chemistry together. Their scenes are an easy watch.
Bega creates a character that you couldn’t help but like. Besnik is cool and suave, and you can see how easily he can break down Ben’s ‘guard’. His interactions with Milligan during their Nintendo scenes are brilliant. Milligan is outstanding in his characterisations. Everyone knows someone like Ben, a nervous ‘worrier’ as Viv puts it. The audience doesn’t see Milligan performing as Ben; we see Ben. The character is so cleverly executed that the audience lose themselves in his performance.
Nikolaos Brahimllari as Ylli and Patricia Potter as Viv have more challenging plot points to accomplish, but something seems to miss the mark. While they portray their characters well, the scenes between them seem under-rehearsed and very ‘staged’. Considering their scenes are the ones that pull the narrative along, and have some incredibly difficult moments to portray (which are handled well and delicately by the entire cast), there just seems like something missing in these characters. I am unsure whether the blame should lie with the director or the writer, but either way, it has a massive impact on the show.
This production is Corley’s playwriting debut, and while certain aspects of the play are good (as mentioned above, the Nintendo scenes between Ben and Besnik are great), unfortunately, there are massive glaring plot holes. Except for ‘The Legend of Zelda’ and the issues in Kosovo used to set the time in late 1998, there are no other clues during the performance to move the time along. The rest of the play could have taken place in the space of a couple of days or a couple of months. It almost feels like the play is unfinished and still in the editing stage.
With a little bit of work, this play could be excellent, but in its current manifestation, something has missed the mark.