No Strings Attached by Charles Entsie. The Ignition Room. Islington Square to 19 June 2021. 4****. William Russell

Not in the fabulous new premises they were hoping for – Covid has delayed the move and performances in the King’s Head Theatre will resume on 12 July – but for the moment the company have resurfaced after 436 days shut down with a site specific performance of this award winning play. No Strings Attached was due to have been staged in the spring 2020 season but now appears in the Ignition Room in Islington Square, the posh new development down the road from the pub. As for the room’s name – it is a garage for several cars and the performance is site specific in that the action of the play takes place in a Peckham car park. Boy (Shak Benjamin beguiling in his theatre debut) and Man (Razak Oman ) are sharing one of the parked cars and things are not quite what they seem. This is one of those plays where the audience needs to discover for itself what is going on so no spoilers other than that the Man has picked up the Boy and all does not go quite according to plan. The result is a gripping 70 odd minutes of well performed theatre although things do suffer a little from the fact that the space has a rather cavernous acoustic.
The hugely experienced director Aileen Gonsalves has theories about performance which she outlines in the programme which she teaches globally but perhaps less feeling and more attention to diction would have improved things – whatever the rules are for actors in connection with one another audiences rely not on sight – this two gripping and intriguing two hander could easily be a radio play – but on what they can make out – in other words – hear. The actors did have to battle with the acoustic a bit.
Both men, who are not where they ought to be, have secrets to keep from the Peckham world in which they live. But that said go, support the theatre in these months ahead on a journey that will hopefully end in a custom built space in the Square in 2022.
Boy: Shak Benjamin.
Man: Razak Osman.
Director: Aileen Gonsalves.
Set Designer: Sorcha Corcoran.
Lighting Designer: Richard Lambert.

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection