Review: Tobacco Road, VAULT Festival

Playing like an unofficial adaptation of Peaky Blinders, Incognito Theatre’s Tobacco Road is a mixed bag at the VAULT Festival

“We should tell them how we got here
We’ll have to start all the way at the beginning”

While we wait for the inevitable offical theatrical adaptation of Peaky Blinders, an unofficial one emerges in the form of Tobacco Road. Incognito Theatre’s play, directed by Roberta Zuric, has an impressive visual flair to it (choreography by Zak Nemorin) and is undoubtedly inventively staged, it just lacks originality.

Delving into life as a gangster in the immediate aftermath of the Great War, the play pulls out theme after theme in an attempt to give voice to the kind of stories that don’t get enough airtime. But as another and then another is pulled out of the hat – it’s hard to be a woman, it’s hard to be a gay, it’s hard to be a drug addict – too little get the attention they deserve.

There’s much potential here, not least in Zuric and Nemorin’s eye for a searingly powerful image, but it’s hard not to feel like another developmental stage would be useful (maybe that’s what this run could be) and I’d be intrigued to see how (or if) this piece evolves and will certainly keep an eye out for Incognito. 

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
Photos: Tim Hall
Tobacco Road is booking at the VAULT Festival until 17th February

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