Flesh and Bone @ Soho Theatre*

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tickets and more information: https://sohotheatre.com/shows/flesh-and-bone/
Running until: 21st July 2018
Production Photos by: Owen Baker.

After sold out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017 and the Adelaide Fringe, the critically acclaimed Flesh and Bone has made it’s way to London at the Soho Theatre. Co-directors and co-devisors Elliott Warren and Olivia Brady bring their real life experiences & influences to this brilliant play set in a working class East London estate. Warren’s script brings the lyricism of Shakespeare to present day East London and tackles the overall themes of family and gentrification through humour and cockney accents while giving a voice to the working classes.

Alessandro Babalola, Michael Jinks and Elliot Warren in Flesh and Bone, credit of Owen Baker

Not only do they wear directing and story devising hats but Elliott Warren and Olivia Brady are part of this brilliant five piece ensemble, playing couple Terrence and Kelly (or, Tel and Kel for short) who are trying to find a way to make money. Alongside them is Michael Jinks’ funny and shining performance as Tel’s brother Reiss, Nick T Frost’s hilarious performance as Grandad and Alessandro Babalola moving and heartfelt performance as estate resident Jamal. What I really loved about this play was how it breaks down and deconstructs stereotypes; particularly evident in the characters of Reiss and Jamal. Although Reiss has a tough exterior, his main storyline is him trying to tell his brother that he’s gay, as he ponders “why can’t a man be both a geezer and fabulous?”. And although Jamal comes across at first as a stereotypical thug, all he wants to do is take care of his sick mum and find a girlfriend.

Flesh and Bone, credit of Owen Baker (2)

Performed in the Soho Theatre Upstairs, there is a very minimal set and next to no props. And yet the strength of Warren’s script really help create the East London that I come from within the four walls of the theatre and only made this incredible group of actors’ performances shine. Not only is this a hilarious show but it is a heartfelt one too, particularly in the last monologue, but this also had me thinking about the influence of Shakespeare. You can have as many modern setting Shakespeare productions as you like, but, collectively as theatregoers, we should be giving more attention to the original pieces like Flesh and Bone that are just as poetic and entertaining to watch.

Until next time

hayley-sprout-transparent

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