The Kilburn Passion at the Tricycle
There is a real community feel to The Kilburn Passion. Revived as part of the ninth Camden Fringe, the play was written by former Kilburn resident Suhayra El-Bushra through a process of workshop consultations with the Tricycle’s own Young Company ensemble, who perform the piece. The sense of community continues through an intimate performance space in which the audience are made to feel part of a simple but versatile, multi-level set somewhat reminiscent of Rent (so too the narrative, which unfolds through vignettes, interspersed with brief connective musical interludes).
As the name might suggest, the story is something of a parable – a lesson in social responsibility set among a group of young people taking their first angst-ridden steps into the adult world of Kilburn. Ruby (Yasmeen Khalaf) is worried about a lack of customers at her catering van, Abi (Nicola Taylor) is struggling with motherhood, and Pete (Jack Murphy) is starting to think he should lay off the weed. There are some great performances here from a young ensemble working from a script based – at least in part – on their own personal experiences. The group’s affinity with the individual subjects such as racism and youthful romance translates into a formidable team effort (though special mention should go to Itai Anrakh, who, as Chris, weaves the disparate plot strands together with aplomb). Some innovative physical staging further embodies this: when not taking part in the action on which attention is focused, members of the cast support those that are by fleshing out scenes as extras, or by becoming living props such as a shop mannequin or a mains socket.
The sheen of well-rehearsed capability doesn’t necessarily continue through some of the longer song and dance sections, which occasionally come across a little drama club does Glee (not helped by some songs plucked ripe from the cheese board), but they still serve as a dynamic bridge between the dramatic action.
Director Emily Lim set out with The Kilburn Passion to tell “a story both deeply personal and universal”, about “what it is to feel responsibility for other people”, and she has certainly achieved that. Audiences will find much to identify with in a performance full of humour and emotion, and will leave having been thoroughly well entertained.
The Kilburn Passion is on at the Tricycle Theatre until 9th August 2014, for further information or to book visit here.