Leading up to the General Election, Camden People’s Theatre are putting on something that needs our attention. Although they are not the only fringe venue attempting political and relevant work, CPT are putting on a festival of productions called ‘The State We’re In’. They are kicking it off with a contemporary, spoken-worded and hip-hop-styled piece called ‘No Milk For The Foxes’.
Devised and performed by Conrad Murray and Paul Cree, ‘No Milk For The Foxes’ shows us the lives of two security guards sharing a night shift. Throughout the night, discussions of relatives, girlfriends and other small-talk turns into politics, class, views and self-struggle being brought forward.
Murray and Cree are a great duo. They hold their characters well and provide a good chemistry together – in humour and in more serious tones too. At the beginning there was a slight worry of first-night nerves, but come the first spoken-word section, things moved onwards and upwards.
The scene dialogue soon sounded so natural that at times it could have been improvised. The two support each other through this gradually eye-opening production and become one during the hip-hop inspired spoken-word segments. At the majority of times, the spoken-word segments are clearer than the actual scenes where some words and sentences are lost. You can tell the segments where Murray and Cree feel most comfortable. You hang on every word as these two demonstrate a thought-provoking analysis around a strong beat.
Murray and Cree also never take themselves too seriously. Humour is frequent throughout the show, and the two perform best when bouncing off each other’s character. As well as humour, character struggles are also highlighted. The storyline and progression is well thought-out and realistic. These two know how to pull at the heart as well as entertain. The set and lighting stand out and work well in the space. It shows a mundane workroom and highlights its simplicity by being in all grey. It’s very eye-catching with the various red files and suchlike which are a great standout – design-wise and, I’m guessing, politically.
In terms of movement there seems to be some lack and some unnatural spacing. The scenes can, at small interims, seem under-attended but with a three-week run at the Camden People’s Theatre, the show is very quickly going to sharpen up in that area and match with the impressiveness of its hip-hop influences. There is no doubt that these boys are intelligent, talented individuals and their skills with the spoken-word is something I’ll remember for some time.
Murray and Cree have stated that they wish to bring some realism into this discussion, of class and struggle that other productions have failed to represent correctly. They pretty much hit the nail on the head with this piece of theatre. Not only do they bring realism, they bring heart, commitment and powerful poetic words which would encourage any audience member to watch more shows in the CPT festival and follow Murray and Cree into their next endeavours.
Review by Tomm Ingram
No Milk For The Foxes is part of The State We’re In – three weeks of political work at Camden People’s Theatre leading up to the General Election. There will be a post-show discussion on Friday 24th April with Dr David O’Brien (Senior Lecturer in Cultural Policy, ICCE, Goldsmiths’ College) and Dr Sam Friedman (Assistant Professor in Sociology, LSE). Drawing on recent high-profile debates about working-class representation and participation in culture, Dr O’Brien and Dr Friedman’s brand new research ‘uncovers worrying patterns of disadvantage within the acting profession, a cultural form that is critical to the UK, reflecting the exploitation and inequality at the heart of modern Britain.’
Wednesday 22nd April to Saturday 9th May
Time: 7.30pm / 6pm on 2 May /9pm on 5-9 May
Thursday 23rd April 2015