by guest critic Amy Toledano
This tour-de-force of a show is a love letter to the last of the East End geezers and birds alike who, just like everybody else, want to live their lives the way they please, free from societal pressure and judgement. Written, directed and performed by the brilliant Elliot Warren and Olivia Brady, the story has been brought to life through many a real life experience, as they detail the grit, violence and love they dish out and take in everyday.
The casting is just perfect, with each actor bringing to life stereotypical characters we know and love, and managing to give them layers and depth that surprise and move us. From the closeted Reiss (Michael Jinks) who asks the question, “can a fella not be a geezer and be fabulous at the same time?”, to Grandad (Nick T Frost) who keeps us on our toes and wistfully remembers the good old days, Jamal (Alessandro Babalola) the local drug dealer with a deeply hidden secret that could expose his true vulnerabilities and Terrence and Kel (played by Warren and Brady) the communities golden couple.
It is important to mention that the language of the piece is, while slightly unnerving at first, a gorgeous wonder of words that dance in the air and lay meaning to so much throughout the show. It feels completely natural within a few minutes to hear these East End accents sing out in such beautiful Shakespearian tongue.
Flesh and Bone is a delight to behold the entire way through with each scene a snapshot of daily life of a community that deserves more credit than it gets. It soars as a fantastic ensemble piece that flows and expands a voice of a class group so often misrepresented.
Flesh and Bone runs through 21 July.
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