In the year 2020, Britain has left the EU, London is impossible to afford, and two energetic rappers are challenging the system. Dr Green Fingers (Dominic Garfield) and Dustin Roads (Gerel Falconer), invite you to hear out their views on the ways politics have failed, from their Merryville basement. Merryville, the last ‘affordable’ housing block in the city, represents all that has become wrong in near-future London.
With few ideas of what to expect from Merryville, I can only start by saying I was completely impressed. The production describes itself as a ‘grime concept concert’, and whilst I know a tiny bit about what grime music is, I really wasn’t sure what this would mean. Regardless, Merryville is completely accessible and whole-heartedly entertaining from start to finish. Falconer and Garfield have written all the material performed, and there are some very solid rhymes here.
An absolute highlight for me included the MP rap battles, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn going head to head, and Zac Goldsmith versus Sadiq Kahn. The lyrics are clever and superbly delivered. Other moments too – like Falconer’s Kanye impression – were properly hilarious. There was no doubt that the audience enjoyed every second.
Even if you aren’t much into rap, this is still a thoroughly entertaining production. Yes, Merryville imagines a dystopian London as a result of the politics of today, something many might be sick of hearing about. But Garfield and Falconer make an excellent duo, they are relatable and likeable, and the music is all imbued with a sincere, silly humour that does much to counteract any feelings of being oversaturated with post-Brexit mania.
This isn’t the production that will wow you with staging or deep dramatic plot arcs; it’s all about the music, the clever rhymes and catchy beats. It takes a little while to warm up, but HighRise have created a unique and accessible production – a sharp musical take on the political concerns facing our times, and our future.
There is a lot to like and a lot to laugh about in Merryville, even if times seem dark.
Review by Christina Calgaro
Presented by HighRise Theatre, co-produced by CPT
It’s 2020. Since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, dodgy politics, austerity and civil unrest have left the streets of London in turmoil. A new coalition between the Conservatives and UKIP has driven house prices to an all-time high. Two local rappers (Dr Green Fingers & Dustin Roads) find themselves in the last ‘affordable’ housing block in London. They have to work two jobs to make ends meet, options are thin, and as they flirt with the idea of leaving their home, sparking revolution or a life of crime, they can’t help but dissect the politics that have surrounded them the past 10 years.
A Grime concept concert that brings the truth from ground level. Expect MP rap battles, tactics for revolution and a dealer’s guide to inflation. Merryville is an honest account of what it means to live as a born and bred Londoner when the housing crisis, inflation and dirty politics continue to force us out of our city.
Tue 1 – Sat 5 Nov 2016 at 9pm