PlayFight at Seven Dials Playhouse
PlayFight is enjoying an extended stint at the Seven Dials Playhouse, transferring after a brief run at The Pleasance. The one-act play, written by Christina Alagaratnam, provides an unflinching account of three teenage friends navigating their way through life in a tight-knit community, when a series of events redetermine their paths. Forced to grow up quickly, the trio confront society’s expectations of them as they endeavour to simply survive in what can often be a cruel world where racism and stereotypes still sadly exist.
This is a hard-hitting, emotionally charged evening of theatre that leaves its audience with a great deal to consume and process after a candid and raw exploration of mental health and trauma. Crucially, thanks to the well-crafted characters and some utterly engaging performances, we very quickly invest in the journey each character embarks upon. There is a beautiful authenticity to the script, which employs colloquial dialogue that permits it to feel incredibly timely and relevant. Character-based humour provides a little light as the friends believably banter with one another. Twists and turns surprise us and a suitably emotional weight enshrouds the room.
With a simple yet effective set by Eliandro Montiero, this issue-based play comes at a time when mental health difficulties are alarmingly evident, particularly amongst younger people. Beyond the ideas at its heart, this is a multi-layered character study that covers a great deal in a relatively short time. Leian John Baptiste’s direction is sensitive and often subtle, yet also carries a degree of urgency. It’s more than clear just how much passion has been invested by the cast and creatives.
There are moments whereby the pace dips a little with some of the dialogue being a little too drawn-out: almost unnatural pauses sometimes slow proceedings too much. That said, a play of such weighty subject matter requires some breathing space to absorb and process the themes. After 85 minutes, there is a great deal to digest but it’s commendable that the team refuses to shy away from tackling the array of issues it holds under the microscope.
Orisun Productions seeks to provide a platform for Black creatives and, if this is anything to go by, the company are certainly one to watch. A sincere, truthful study of incredibly pertinent matters, PlayFight serves as an insightful, impactful and important piece of theatre.
PlayFight is at Seven Dials Playhouse from 10th July until 5th August 2023. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.