Shakespeare in Shoreditch*** (Various locations in Hoxton)

Posted: October 6, 2014 in Theatre

blueDid you know that William Shakespeare once lived in Shoreditch? He did and, to commemorate the fact, RIFT is presenting two cycles of new short plays, performed at various locations during a walking tour of the borough. On a chilly but dry evening, I saw the cycle of five plays (rather four and a film) on The Hoxton Path. The works reflect an area in which traditional London is meeting modern London, where jellied eel stores and sushi bars trade side-by-side and where social housing estates stand proud, resisting the creeping onset of gentrification. Three Loose Teeth by Thomas McMullan features three characters and takes place in a side alley. Touching upon marital infidelity, domestic violence and vagrancy, it has an edgy feel, but needs a sharper focus. Disnatured by Sabrina Mahfouz takes place in a small flat and is a monologue by a young woman, damaged by a horrific childhood incident and embittered by social injustice in the old Hoxton; rather than seeking revenge, she has reconciled herself to playing the game and becoming part of the new Hoxton. Beautifully written and acted, this play is a moving study of subdued anger. The Isle is Full of Noises is a short film (shown in an open shed) by James Soldan and Katie Lambert; the supernatural story concerns a vagrant who befriends and assumes the voice of a teenage girl. Shot in bleak urban locations, it is intriguing and creepy. Community Payback by Ali Muriel is performed in a small park by two good-humoured rappers with some audience participation; it is witty and has a twist in the tail which, although not new, works brilliantly here. This little gem is pure fun. Finally, The Best Pies in London by Abi Zakarian takes place in a real pie shop, splattered with blood for the occasion; here a lady who looks as if she is auditioning for the part of Mrs Lovett in Sondheim’s Sweeney, recounts a gory tale centring on the contents of her pies. This play is predictable, but well done. It all adds up to an unusual and entertaining Autumn evening stroll.

Performance date: 4 October 2014

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