Rock Paper Scissors at Brockley Jack Studio
How do you cope when your girlfriend is pregnant and your selfish, lazy brother won’t leave your no-bedroom flat? You also can’t get a good job because, despite the fact you’ve been living in London for ten years and have read everything there is to read on British citizenry, you are, technically, an uneducated Romanian. Cue meltdown.
Brothers Mihai and Roma are polar opposites in their aspirations, morals, attitudes and interests, but their mutual disgust with their home country, Romania, brings them together under the same roof, in a tiny flat in London. Mihai’s honest intentions to do good and to be somebody are constantly impeded by his cynical brother, provoking many ratty sibling arguments that stir up old flames inside any who can sympathise. Throw in a girl and a mischievous extra and the situation becomes something of a soap opera – all drama, secrets and tears.
The cast rise to the call magnificently; the meticulous attention to elocution and body language accentuates the cultural distinction between the characters, stressing the inescapable role of ethnicity in the shaping of individual identity. Tice Oakfield’s Mihai captures beautifully the unaffected awkwardness of body and earnest vocality that is often seen in English-speaking central and eastern Europeans. Pitted against a steadfast Irish girl and a toffy Englishman the effect is compelling. The patterns that are made, as the characters react upon one another’s alluring eccentricities, are both humorous and sociologically interesting constructions.
Rock Paper Scissors is the third and final play of Jack Studio’s Write Now Festival, which celebrates the diversity and energy of south east London’s emerging playwrights. Writer Olga Nikora explores the turmoil of confused identity, dramatising the problem of artificially constructed boundaries and social categories in a progressively diversifying world. Nikora has a talent to inject fire and emotion into every line in a way that engages the audience tirelessly, holding their attention until the very last. 90 minutes straight through, and not once did it falter.
Rock Paper Scissors is on at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre until 30th May 2015, for further information or to book tickets visit here.