No Milk for the Foxes at Camden People’s Theatre online
Performed in 2015, Beats and Elements’ No Milk for the Foxes is described by its creator and director – rapper, beatboxer and BAC Beatboxing Academy’s artistic director Conrad Murray – is “a hip-hop tragicomedy about class”.
Named as a humorous nod to both the bourgeois British retail giant and communist philosophy, characters Marx and Sparx are security guards with not much to do except shoot the breeze. In its simplicity, however, the banter reveals their ambitions and hopes yet also their listless resignation to the limited here-and-now in which they find themselves.
Co-written by actors and rappers Murray and Paul Cree, the work unfolds as a quasi-comedy with an underlying mood of joylessness with bouts of optimistic “what-if” ruminations on get-rich schemes and creative aspirations. A kind of musical in rap, scenes of dialogue morph from time to time into lively hip-hop and beatboxing.
As the two realistically meander about, sometimes bored and at other times animated by bursts of brief, ambitious proposals, dreams and fantasies, there is a sense of inertia that can result when there appears to be no escape from a dreary daily grind. The claustrophobia of the mundane, partly illusory imprisonment and the trap of a blue-collar existence in a culture that favours the wealthy in Cameron’s Britain. Discussing race, politics and bingo, Marx and Sparx convey an impression of confinement to their lot – a couple of guys with unused potential in an unequal society.
Genuine, spontaneous and funny, Murray and Cree’s performances are believable and entertaining, while their vibrant lyrical rap interludes punctuate the piece with timely ingenuity. The production was filmed from the third row of Camden Theatre, and the camera is slightly shaky at times, which lends a down to earth grittiness to the play. The sound is as basic as could be expected – though adequate – and is supplemented with subtitles.
As a poignant comedic political piece of theatre about being working class in a stratified England, No Milk for the Foxes is a thought-provoking, intriguing and engaging show.
Photo: Camden’s People Theatre
No Milk for the Foxes is available to watch at Beats and Elements’ YouTube channel from 24th June. For further information visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch No Milk for the Foxes here: