A Place for We: Park Theatre

David Webber in A Place for WeBy Archie Maddocks at the Park Theatre. Directed by Michael Buffong.

David Webber in A Place for We By Archie Maddocks at the Park Theatre. Directed by Michael Buffong. - Credit: Mark Douet

The world premiere of Archie Maddock's bittersweet comedy about the march of gentrification and London's changing communities makes for an electrifying night out at Park Theatre.

Talawa Theatre Company’s production centres around a Brixton property over three generations, from a pub, to a funeral business, and its new incarnation as an 'urban-zen enoteca and conscious eatery'.

Clarence James is British born but proud of his Trinidadian heritage and accent. He is the funeral director offering clients a traditional West Indian send off, but son Keron sees the business is on a precipice – the Windrush generation has all but disappeared and few want the old rituals he offers.

David Webber and Harold Addo in A Place for WeBy Archie Maddocks at the Park Theatre. Directed by M

David Webber and Harold Addo in A Place for We By Archie Maddocks at the Park Theatre. Directed by Michael Buffong. - Credit: Mark Douet

Keron's plea to appeal to the general customer is bitterly rebuffed by Clarence, who fears his identity would be eroded by a perceived betrayal of family and tradition.

Flashback to 1971 when the premises were the Queen's Head – a traditional London boozer drenched in history and  tragic memories for Cockney hosts George and Anna.

Blake Harrison in A Place for WeBy Archie Maddocks at the Park Theatre. Directed by Michael Buffong

Blake Harrison in A Place for We By Archie Maddocks. - Credit: Mark Douet


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We then flash forward to the present as young, thrusting entrepreneurs Angus and Esme are excitedly planning their hybrid venture - unaware of the building's past.

Kirsty Oswald in A Place for WeBy Archie Maddocks at the Park Theatre. Directed by Michael Buffong.

Kirsty Oswald in A Place for We - Credit: Mark Douet

Should we adapt and survive or stay true to our roots? These five decades of change in Brixton echo those experienced by all Londoners. Maddocks examines how memory and heritage become fundamental to identity, while reminding us that London's ever changing churn is the very essence of the city's energy.

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Blessed with perceptive, often laugh out loud dialogue (“never say over-board to a West Indian”) the six strong cast are flawless and compelling.

And there's an admirably unpreachy tone to this story of origins and belonging which encourages us to identify with these six characters, while laughing at and understanding their flaws. 

5/5 Stars

Until November 6. https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/a-place-for-we

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