NW Trilogy includes three short plays with a global concept: each is inspired by the history of immigrants from Brent, the London borough in which the Kiln theater stands.
In Moira Buffini's dance floor, an Irish woman runs away from home to escapeper to the cultural shame of her pregnancy and becomes a cleaner in "County Kilburn". In Roy Williams' Life of Riley, a mixed race teenager confronts the father who left home to pursue his now faltering musical career with Trojan Records. And in Suhayla El-Bushra's Waking / Walking, an Indian factory worker becomes a "scab" to keep his family afloat while friends stage heated strikes at Grunwick .
The idea is similar to that of Out West , recently staged at Lyric Hammersmith and loosely related by locality. The concept may have confined the material or left us scratching the surface of these small dramas, but instead it works with un bewitching effect. Directed by Taio Lawson and Susie McKenna, and presented as part of The Year of Brent as Borough of London Mayor's Culture in 2020, NW Trilogy is powerful in its storytelling and unified in his mind, offering us a Brent melting pot with emotional depth beneath humor.
The plays are set in the 60s and 70s , and we can first have the impression of having seen these characters before: the young Irish girl in "boredom", the cowardly Caribbean father, the grafted Indian family. But the la The quality of the writing and the universally superb cast (with the actors doubling the roles in all three plays) give them a fierce life.
The music and the songs are present in each room, with a compositionbreathtaking sound design and design by Ben and Max Ringham, and the musical interludes have crisp and clear power, while Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey's airy post (a phone booth here, a poster of Enoch Powell there) speaks eloquently about his economy.
A magnificent Irish song is sung solo by cleaner Aoife (Claire Keenan) in the first piece, by Buffini, which has an alluring romantic touch and a nicely designed A (the London sky is the color of tea and the abortionist that Aoife visits has eyes like rocks).
William de Riley's heartbreaking life is the strongest story of the night. Paulette (Harmony Rose Bremner) is a strong, prickly, and slightly lost teenager who meets father, Riley (Chris Tummings), who has dropped out.Born his mother years ago to follow his love of reggae. Their exchanges are hard and inflexible - she refuses to forgive, he refuses to blame - until a blazing connection through the music. Bremner and Tummings sing as sensational as they act, and the writing nuancely captures the philosophical tension between family responsibilities and personal freedom. The stories of the father and daughter are presented with delicacy, and without final judgment either.
The story of 'El-Bushra on the Grunwick factory uprising for poor working conditions, and the drive of East African Indian women mobilizing to make it happen, is tied to the life of family of Anjali (Natasha Jayetileke), whose husband wants her to keep his head down and continue working. Seems more awkward than the previous two stories, with Happiness Gracious Me -style comic characterization at times, but is a story-inspired dig local with a catchy musical ending.
There are big portions of sentimentality and roaring romance in all three pieces, but with an emotional truth within . Each contains the possibility of a dark ending, but that is avoided in lieu of hope and celebration of immigrant life. It is theater with a big warm heart.