Review Pass Over Kiln Theatre
- Credit: Archant
Antoinette Nwandu cleverly customises Beckett’s Waiting For Godot to evoke the cruelly proscribed lives of African Americans.
Antoinette Nwandu cleverly customises Beckett's absurdist Waiting For Godot to evoke the cruelly proscribed lives of African Americans.
Moses and Kitch are down-and-outs, kicking the kerb at the wrong end of a nameless city street, dreaming of getting 'up and off this block'.
They take turns to sleep, spar, argue, fantasise about food and women, and reminisce about childhood Bible classes which held out hope of a Promised Land.
The book of Exodus, which saw Moses lead his people out of slavery, but also Black Lives Matter underpins the non-action.
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It is set now, but several signifiers - a family name, a verbal slip-up, a way of cowering at authority, recall the slave era - indeed Nwandu sourced her character names from an old slave manifest.
The duo's encounters with first a wholesome white-suited 'golly gosh' liberal, and a more straightforwardly racist cop betray the mutual fear and hostility of black-white relations that springs from centuries of inequality.
- 1 'Land grab': Muswell Hill Gail's accused of taking over pavement
- 2 UK's first no chicken nugget shop pops up in Camden Town
- 3 Council denies liability for Church Row bollards car damage
- 4 Man killed and two injured in triple shooting
- 5 Man killed in 'shooting' in north London
- 6 Nursery to open in former Highgate Barclays building
- 7 How did a double-decker bus crash straight into a Crouch End house?
- 8 Meet the entrepreneur helping Londoners find the cool dining spots
- 9 Man jailed for rape of young girl in north London 40 years ago
- 10 'More than a shop': Storm in a Teacup in 100 nation-wide small businesses
Moses and Kitch are victims, but don't want to be, rehearsing their limited options they realise that for them, The American Dream is a chimera.
It's an urgent powerful message but a depressing one that's sometimes hard to watch but Indhu Rubasingham's tautly-directed 80 minute production handles the tonal shifts from surrealism to naturalism.
Paapa Essiedu and Gershwyn Eustache Jnr are superlative in playing through the duo's bantering cameraderie, Kitch more conciliatory, pragmatic, Moses defiant and playful. Both vulnerable.
Alexander Eliot's earnest, shrugging Mister is a cypher, a stand in for the complicit, bland concern of white liberals to their unequal society.
He finds it hard to hear them use the N-word he whines, 'how come you can, but I can't?'.
Just as Trayvon Martin was shot by a community-spirited neighbourhood watcher, Nwandu suggests that Moses and Kitch have as much to fear from the do-gooder who comes bearing picnic treats, as the 'popos' with their batons and Glocks.