Nathan Ives-Moiba in Terminates At Kennington
Published: 23 August, 2012
by LEO GARIB
TERMINATES AT KENNINGTON
Calder Bookshop Theatre
MARY Whitehouse must be spinning in her grave after the opening night of this punchy new play.
Education secretary Michael Gove would be spitting tacks if he’d been there to hear the industrial language in Terminates at Kennington, a no-holds-barred portrayal of a couple of young men on a south London estate against the backdrop of last year’s riots.
This is nothing like the schlock-and-awe picture of inner-city life television serves up, nor like Gove’s outraged narrative of an underclass running amok last summer.
Instead writer Simon Bennett, who grew up in working-class Brixton in the 1970s and 80s and teaches inmates in a south London prison, has produced an unflinching but deeply engaging picture of friendship, betrayal and death.
The vernacular language sometimes turns the air blue but it also has a rhythm that almost transforms it into performance poetry, capturing the colourful and gritty music of street-speak.
Bringing the script to stunning life are two little-known young actors now destined for very great things.
Nathan Ives-Moiba and Alex Forward have a telepathic link, firing lines off each other and at the audience with immaculate timing of Hollywood’s golden era stars.
They are supported excellently by Tashann Barnett, Tracey Ann Wood and Tyrone Paul.
The tight one-act play focuses on the relationship between them in the face of the kind of hardships young working-class men confront daily – thwarted aspirations, drug-peddling, macho violence, prison. It’s no secret things end tragically.
Bennett writes with the tenderness of someone who clearly understands and cares about the human beings involved. He pulls no punches but also laughs with them at the sharp black comedy of their bleak lives.
“Boy, that riot come just at the right time, can’t stress that enough,” says Forward’s character with a heartfelt smile and a sing-song delivery.
After the opening night the duo were at a loss to explain their success. Forward said he didn’t grow up on a housing estate like the one portrayed but was raised “very much with working-class attitudes” and had a “feel” for the script.
Veteran director Sergio Amigo modestly put the casting down to good luck.
Under Amigo and Luis Gayol, the Bookshop Theatre, opposite the Young Vic, was founded by John Calder, Samuel Beckett’s publisher and lifelong friend.
It has won awards for its bookshop, stages a programme of cutting-edge theatre, cinema and stage-training, and helps ex-cons, said Amigo, an international Shakespeare expert who also teaches in a London prison.
UNTIL SEPTEMBER 9
020 7620 2900