Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Death of England: Closing Time @ Dorfman Theatre…

Last week Stuart and I went to see Death of England: Closing Time - the fourth instalment of Roy Williams and Clint Dyer’s state of the nation series at the Dorfman Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.
The Death of England series looks at the pressing questions such as race and identity in modern England. What sets this episode apart however is it allows the women a voice; Carly and Denise. And it was simply brilliant. 
Carly (Hayley Squires - her off of I, Daniel Blake) is the sister of white, working-class Michael who we first met mourning the death of his racist father.  Denise (Sharon Duncan-Brewster - her off of Sex Education) is Delroy's mother. He being Michael’s best friend and the boyfriend of Carly, whose chaotic life prevented him attending the birth of their daughter.  
As usual, the action takes place on a bright red cruciform stage - evoking the England flag - set and costumes by Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and ULTZ)
The premise is both women have poured everything into setting up a flower shop business together; only its failed - for the uncomfortable reasons we are soon to discover.
As both women try to cope with the pain of failure, so underlying resentments explode spectacularly. Race is never far away, of course: for all that Carly claims she is not a racist like her Sun-reading father, her genuine love for a black man does not wash away deep-rooted preconceptions and casual racism.  
Denise, for her part, carries the bitterness of those who are always at the receiving end of racism, those for whom life is always an obstacle course, who, in her words ‘are always having to start from the beginning.’ She is deeply conflicted when it comes to Carly: despite herself, she rather likes her son's spunky girlfriend, but she resents the intimacy with a white woman which being Carly’s ‘mother-in-sin’ involves.  
The confrontations between the two women give the playwrights the pretext to comment on many burning issues beyond the ever-present race: Covid, vaccines, the Royal Family, Ukrainian women, refugees, slavery, colonialism, Brexit, the murder of George Floyd, cancel culture... you name it.
The results are glorious though. There are many brilliant sequences with sharp life-like observations and wicked humour. 
Duncan-Brewster fully inhabits a complex and very human Denise: simultaneously strong and vulnerable, bitter but resilient, and sharply humorous.
Hayley Squires’s Carly, too, is a flesh-and-blood character, confused, fallible but redeemed by her love for a man she’ll never be able fully to understand and for the daughter she doesn’t even know how to define any more: ‘Mixed heritage? Global majority?’
A marvellous fourth (and final?) instalment in the series.  I hasten to add you don't need to have seen any of the earlier works. They are all fully self-contained. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.