Sunday, June 01, 2003


May has been a busy month on the cultural scene. Two big world music festivals have dominated things, but bookended in there were two contrasting plays at the Royal National Theatre's studio venue - the Cottesloe.

"Honour" attracted because of two top notch actors - Corin Redgrave and Eileen Aitken. Pity that the play didn't deliver: already done marriage breaking done scenario, but with the ocassional good passage between the two leads. Very white middle class.

"Elimina's Kitchen" was an unknown. Written by newcomer Kwame Kwei-Armah and directed on his RNT debut by Angus Jackson, this is a parable about the important things in life and important life choices. Delroy owns a Caribbean cafe in Hackney, East London's feared Yardie haunt. The story revolves around Delly's relationship with his son who is attracted to the Yardie scene with its violence and quick money. But, some of the peripheral characters also face choices.

It sounds good on paper, but unfortunately the play reduces the characters to stereotypes and the gangster element reverts to cartoonishness. For South London white-boy (me), the patois is sometimes difficult to follow. The action is predictable. We are not told much: the sentiments admirable, but hackneyed (if you excuse the pun). Some brave acting and a nice prodcution (as you expect from the well funded RNT), but Jackson direction is fairly lifeless with Delroy talking too much to the corners of the theatre.

I applaud the effort to attract punters other than South London white-boy. The attraction of crime to youth is a subject worth exploring. It gets a fair airing here, just that this is not a play that will stand out in the crowd.

:: Posted by pete @ 18:02