Flesh & Bone
Reviewed – 4th July 2018
“Deeply contemporary yet rooted in Shakespeare-inspired language, this is a piece that is witty and sad and screaming to be heard”
We are in East London. Terrence or Terry or Tel lives with his brother Reiss, his girlfriend Kelly and her grandad. In the flat below lives the local drug dealer, Jamal, with his mum. As we learn about each of their stories, we follow them through pub brawls and rat infestations, underscored by the looming threat of a council who think their home is an eyesore. Deeply contemporary yet rooted in Shakespeare-inspired language, this is a piece that is witty and sad and screaming to be heard.
Terrence is played by Elliot Warren, who is also the writer of ‘Flesh and Bone’, a clear talent both onstage and with pen in hand. The script tumbles between dialogue, ensemble scenes and moments of monologue in which each character has a chance to tell us who they really are, their fears, their dreams. This tumbling takes perhaps a moment to get used to, but once you’re in there’s no getting out, not that you’d want to.
Olivia Brady, who co-directs, plays Kel with warmth and humour, making some extra cash through phone sex chatlines. Reiss (Michael Jinks) is trying to figure out how to tell his brother he’s gay. Jinks’ performance is tender and playful, immediately emotionally engaging and as a result really quite moving. Alessandro Babalola’s Jamal is electric to watch, hard then soft then hard again in a moment. Nick T Frost is a cheeky Grandad, reminiscing about his wife as he wanders around in his dressing gown. Bold and bursting with life, this is an unapologetic explosion onto the stage, an energised, highly-committed performance in which every person shines, both individually and as an ensemble.
This is a really exciting piece of theatre, well-crafted, well-executed, and vibrant with life.
Reviewed by Amelia Brown
Photography by Owen Baker
Flesh & Bone
Soho Theatre until 21st July