As one walks through the entrance of the Park Theatre, one is greeted with a large blackboard detailing the previous reviews of Warde Street. On said blackboard, there are a range of superlative quotes and a plethora of stars explaining the brilliance of the production; and, it is in this writer’s opinion, that the expanse of stars and the heaps of praise which the production has earned are justified – for the show is sublime.
The first half of the play lights embers of intrigue within the audience, the ferocious second half fans the flames into an almighty heat, and the embers which are left after the play has concluded burn in the audience for many hours afterward.
One should now take a moment to discuss the plot. The play is, very much, a play of two halves. The first half involves David and Samiya, played by Damien Tracey and Avita Jay respectively, discussing the situation of politics today and problems within their relationship, only to have their evening interrupted by Ash.
The first half of the play is a captivating experience. The dialogue is razor sharp and sizzles to the ear, and this is one of the play’s greatest strengths. The first scene’s script balances the complicated tightrope of being both wickedly funny and deeply thought-provoking. One of my favourite parts is a moment where Samiya screams an impressively high amount of swear words within a brief whisper of time, something which would not have looked out of place tripping from Malcolm Tucker’s tongue from the BBC’s The Thick of It, if one knows the reference. The first act culminates in one of the most exciting theatrical moments I have seen on stage and the interval comes just in time to leave the audience considerably shaken; and in need of a strong drink.
The second act, however, is where the intensity is increased to an almost unbearable heat. The rage and pain the actors on stage embody is astonishing, and this is most clearly seen within Eddie, played by Shane Noone, who is haunted by his loss at the time of the 7/7 London bombings, as he invades the shop owned by Ash and Yasmeenah. Eddie’s calm opening builds as we see him revealed to be a damaged soul struggling with the pain of loss. It is here, however, where the play is most successful – within the character of Eddie. From the moment Noone comes on stage, he holds the audience in the palm of his hand and manipulates them as he sees fit. The moments of humour – granted there are slightly less in the second half – are arguably funnier and fantastically well-executed. Moreover, the moments of sadness are just as well-performed. And, one could argue, that the extreme changes on the scale of emotions would make the audience feel uncomfortable; but, with great credit to the show’s director Jenny Eastop, this never happens.
The acting within this play, as I have already hinted, is at an exceptional level. Each actor makes their character feel believable and three-dimensional; and one, at certain moments, forgets one is watching a play. Normally I would now discuss the set and lighting. There are some images of fractured tube tracks, a small table and chairs, a few bottles and the occasional sound of a rattling tube train; but on the whole the stage is quite bare, and the reason for this is simple: When a production has great acting, direction and script, what else matters?
Thus, I must conclude with the thought that if you have not seen Warde Street, you must ask yourself why that is the case, and you should do that on the way to the Park Theatre Box Office; alternatively, if you have seen Warde Street, fantastic – when are you going again?
Review by Oliver Clark
Scéalta Móra presents Warde Street by Damien Tracey
Scéalta Móra is delighted to be bringing Warde Street to Park 90 after its triumphant debut at the Tristan Bates in 2013. The Show will be directed by Jenny Eastop who joins the production direct from her Associate Director role on the West End Smash Hit Blithe Spirit.
Warde Street tells the story of Eddie, an ordinary man, whose life is ripped apart when his wife is killed in the July 7th 2005, London bombings. Unable to join the masses as they return to their own version of normal, Eddie abandons London for his boy-hood home, Manchester, to heal and somehow start over. An unexpected encounter with his oldest friend, Ash, sets off a chain of events that will leave a sister fighting for the truth, a desperate father fighting for his freedom and the murky motivations of a career politician laid bare.
An exciting, emerging theatre company, Scéalta Móra was born out of a desire to see big stories that reflect our modern times portrayed on stage. Warde Street is a heart stopping journey that examines the repercussions of unforgiveness, and the devastating affect it has on all who encounter it.
Cast: Shane Noone, Omar Ibrahim, Avita Jay, Damian Tracey, Ruby Visaria.
Directed By: Jenny Eastop
Written By: Damien Tracey
Produced By: Scéalta Móra & Siobhan Daly
Performances Tues – Sat Evenings 19.45 Sat & Sun Matinees 15.15
Sunday 19th October 2014