Tag Archives: Rob Drummer

Addictive Beat

Addictive Beat


Dilston Gallery

ADDICTIVE BEAT at the Dilston Gallery



Addictive Beat

“Whitehead and Ricketts give startlingly natural performances throughout this part gig, part theatre, immersive presentation”


It is often heard that “music is a drug”. The response is often sceptical. Nevertheless, neurologists have discovered for some time now that the human response to music involves dopamine, the same chemical in the brain that is associated with the intense pleasure people get from more tangible rewards such as addictive drugs. This has existed for thousands of years, across cultures around the world. We have obviously evolved to enjoy music. Possibly even need it.

‘Boundless Theatre’ have taken this theory to the extreme for their ninety-minute play, “Addictive Beat”, in which the two protagonists – Alex and Robbi – create a dangerous, narcotically powerful piece of music. With echoes of Frankenstein’s Monster, the effects escape the control of the creators, leaving them no choice but to destroy their own creation.

It begins more innocently, however. Alex (Fionn Whitehead) and Robbi (Boadicea Ricketts) are best friends. They share a love of music but are wired differently, so sparks fly when their exposed impulses get too close to each other. A long drawn-out scene, played out to the rhythms of electronic dance music, explains these differences. The upshot is that neither has managed to stay true to their creative impulses. Whitehead and Ricketts give startlingly natural performances throughout this part gig, part theatre, immersive presentation. Their boundless energy draws us in. We thought we were in for a rave, but the experience is much more subtle and gratifying.

Rob Drummer’s stylish and stylised direction highlights the polarisation between Robbi’s singer/songwriter, soulful sentiments, and DJ Alex’s formulaic but tortured yearning to shun commercialism for the elusive ‘secret chord’. The rift ultimately leads to reconciliation and then collaboration. Fusing their respective skills, the binaural beast is born. As the two gyrate chaotically together in an almost sexual dance, the eponymous ‘addictive beat’ is the offspring. Dawn King’s script mixes metaphor with sharp realism, but the message becomes a bit muddled. It is plain that the healing powers of music are being celebrated, but it is difficult to reconcile that with the latent destructive powers that King is hinting at.

International Bass DJ, Anikdote, provides the musical score; perfectly encapsulating the mood of the piece. Although it could be said that the play is the thing that encapsulates the music. Whitehead and Ricketts seem to have an innate affinity to the material that gives real credence to the highs and lows of their character arcs. And when Robbi is allowed to shine (sadly not frequently enough) as the singer she really aspires to be, we can savour the beauty of Ricketts’ vocals.

Nobody needs science to explain why music has become such an integral part of humanity, but neurologists have put a lot of time and energy into trying to prove the evolutionary necessity of music in our lives. “Addictive Beat” uses analogy to show briefly the darker side of this necessity. It borders on alarmist. We don’t quite buy it, but it does make you think. And ultimately the show’s positivity and passion save the day in the closing moments of its uplifting finale.



Reviewed on 23rd September 2022

by Dawn King

Photography by Harry Elletson




Other recent reviews:


Playtime | ★★★★ | Royal & Derngate | September 2022
Doctor Faustus | ★★★★★ | Southwark Playhouse | September 2022
Love All | ★★★★ | Jermyn Street Theatre | September 2022
The P Word | ★★★ | Bush Theatre | September 2022
The Prince | ★★★ | Southwark Playhouse | September 2022
The Drought | ★★★ | King’s Head Theatre | September 2022


Click here to read all our latest reviews


Confidence – 2 Stars



Southwark Playhouse

Reviewed – 25th May 2018


“simply not the standard which I associate with the Southwark and it left me very disappointed”


On a 90s boardwalk, Ella, a young confidence trickster, tries to play her way to a fortune only to come unstuck, in Judy Upton’s Confidence. Produced by Boundless Theatre and first performed in 1998, this is an exploration of frustrated youth and capitalist daydreams.

This is a good play. Although occasionally overly verbose, Upton’s script is witty, sharp and affectionate to its ensemble of losers. Many of the themes it touches on feel particularly pertinent today, comments on deluded ambition, consumerism and sexual politics that play into current concerns that are prevalent in the current social conscience. It is no wonder why Boundless felt it was ripe for a revival. There are clearly good intentions behind this production.

Sadly it falls apart in execution. Director Rob Drummer may have created the feel of the 90s, but he fails to connect us to his central characters. The set design (Amelia Jane Hankin), although impressive and immaculate in its attention to detail, swamps the space forcing the actors to the side lines. The blocking feels obvious and unnatural, further cutting the actors off from the audience. In all, while the period is realised, the world lacks the fun and energy needed to engage. There are pacing issues throughout, with too many dead air pauses that leave the room flat. It feels superficial, telling more than showing and at two hours it starts to drag.

In terms of the performances, Anna Crichlow’s Ruby shines. She is a gem bringing energy, commitment and joy every time she steps on stage, even if only to sweep the floor. Ruby’s triumphant final decree was met with well earned applause from the audience. Unfortunately, every one else appears to struggle. Rhys Yates as older brother Ben fares best, giving the character authority and vulnerability in the face of Ella’s schemes, while Will Pattle’s hapless Dean succeeds in providing moments of humour and pathos. Lace Akpojaro creates a strong sense of benign threat as owner Edwin. But there is a lack of emotional connection between the characters which they can’t overcome. In the central role of Ella, Tanya Burr certainly delivers the character’s grit and hardness, but not the charm and wit necessary to carry the piece and her delivery borders on monotonous.

This was simply not the standard which I associate with the Southwark and it left me very disappointed. It was frustrating that while such care had been taken in the detail of presenting this world, the heart of the story was strangely absent.


Reviewed for thespyinthestalls.com

Photography by Helen Murray



Southwark Playhouse until 16th June


Previously reviewed at this venue
Pippin | ★★★★ | February 2018
Old Fools | ★★★★★ | March 2018
Why is the Sky Blue? | ★★★★★ | May 2018


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