Small gestures can alter one’s entire perception of how to live a good life. A small gesture could be as simple as a social worker lending an ear to listen or a teacher giving her student the book Hamlet. This is one of the lessons we learned from the stories of Conrad Murray’s autobiographical show DenMarked.
Theatre-maker, musician and teacher, Conrad Murray shares the stories of when he grew up in a London council estate in DenMarked. This show explores various stages of Murray’s life that left an impact on the young man he was then and the man he has become now. Through beatboxing, guitar, and Shakespeare-infused storytelling, Murray shares chapters from his life about friends, family and other life-changing relationships along the way.
Though Murray told some interesting stories about growing up in a broken home and living a rough childhood, there was a lack of sincerity in the way he told his narratives. Murray told his stories, rather than emotionally performed his stories. With little to no expression or passion appearing in his behaviour, we as an audience had a difficult time trying to engage with his narratives. His concept of stepping in and out of the stage light to perform Shakespeare was intriguing, but his performance of Shakespeare was mediocre with little emotional drive in his stories. Murray’s story, though inspirational, needed more honest emotion in his performance to get across the messages of his life.
Murray’s music made the entire show more entertaining. His original songs embraced his voice, his sound, and his sincerity of the pain he’s felt over his lifetime. Crossing between rap and singing choruses, DenMarked takes an audience on a journey through one man’s life as he adapts to change and discovers self-identity through his musical talents. Murray has the ability to share with young artists his inspiring story to help guide others on a more positive path their lives.
Review by Aly Chromy
Tales from the council estate of dodgy best friends, that rite of passage, your first arrest, dinner with your social worker and the Christmas dad went to prison.
A combination of hip-hop and theatre, Conrad’s honest, raw and humour-tingled show is told through segments of blistering beatbox, guitar and Shakespeare-infused storytelling live-mixed with a loop station.
Created by Conrad Murray and developed with Battersea Arts Centre, DenMarked explores the extent by which we are marked by the events in our past.
Directed by Ria Parry.
Age Recommendation: 16+
Running Time: 70 mins
Warning: This show contains strong language and content that references sexual violence/assault and could be upsetting to some audiences.
22 February – 11 March 2017
Battersea Arts Centre
London SW11 5TN
Running Time: 70 minutes, no interval