Review: Klook’s Last Stand, Park Theatre

“His smile’s like the sun 
I’m the bullet, he’s the gun”

Continuing programming that is eclectic to say the least, the Park Theatre continues to bamboozle audiences since opening last year and at the moment, has a couple of productions that are on the good side. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is doing great work in the larger space and Ché Walker’s Klook’s Last Stand brings an interesting slice of musical theatre to Finsbury Park, albeit one which is hamstrung by desperately predictable plotting.

Klook probably sits more in the play with songs category for Anoushka Lucas and Omar Lyefook’s score – performed brilliantly by Rio Kai throughout – is like the lifeblood of the piece, a blues-influenced jamming session that takes in poetry and spoken word as Ako Mitchell and Sheila Atim deliver knockout performances. Mitchell’s Klook is a reinvigorated ex-con and Atim’s younger Vinette a runaway would-be writer and the depiction of their new relationship and its intensity is just excellent.

But there has to be a story as well and it is pretty damn obvious the way everything is going to unfold, not least because the play is structured that way, but also in the scarcely credible ‘thing’ that Klook does in order for the cards to fall in the assigned manner. It’s a lazy piece of plotting which does the whole show a disservice and in so many ways, it doesn’t need it. Likewise, the need for Klook to be from the hood as well as a deeply romantic hero never really convinces.

But the rhythm of the show – directed by Walker too – is unlike anything else in London and in the heat of this summer, it raises temperatures even further with something deeply, convincingly sexy that was worth the trip north.

Running time: 80 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 6th July

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