TV Review: Kiri

With a cast including Sarah Lancashire, Lucian Msamati and Lia Williams, how could Kiri be anything but good

“Stick a flake in it before you try and sell it to the tabloids will you”

Airing on Channel 4 at the beginning of the year, Jack Thorne’s Kiri was billed as a continuation of his National Treasure brand  (I managed one episode of that first series…). But any fears I had of not liking it were assuaged by a cast led by Sarah Lancashire, Lucian Msamati and Lia Williams, plus this far down the line, I’d heard enough good things about it to finally get round to watching. 

Set in Bristol, Kiri follows the abduction of a young black girl – Kiri – in the foster care system, as she is allowed a meeting with her birth grandparents in advance of her adoption by a white middle-class family. Her social worker Miriam has arranged this unorthodox meeting and sure enough, the proverbial hits the fan when she gets a phone call to say she has gone missing. Continue reading “TV Review: Kiri”

Review: Yen, Royal Court

“Brother, I’ve come home”

Anna Jordan’s Yen follows its fellow 2013 Bruntwood Prize-winner The Rolling Stone by Chris Urch in transferring from Manchester to London and given that In-Sook Chappell’s P’yongyang was on the shortlist for the same year and is selling out the Finborough now, it’s all rather a good showcase for this particular cohort of that playwriting competition.

The play is a taut, terrifying version of corrupted teenagerhood, not a million miles away from the world of Simon Stephens’ Herons, just set on the other side of London in a council flat in Feltham. There, brothers 16-year-old Hench and 13-year-old Bobby have been left alone by their mother and become cut off from the world around them with no family, friends or school to distract them from a relentless diet of porn and computer games and just a single t-shirt to share. Continue reading “Review: Yen, Royal Court”

Review: Chalet Lines, Bush Theatre

“Ya wanna look out there, folk lappin’ about in the pool, holdin’ hands, not a care in this world, just row upon row of chalet lines, little boxes full up with little lives, little bits of love”

With Josie Rourke decamping to the Donmar Warehouse, the role of Artistic Director at the powerhouse of new writing that is the Bush Theatre went to Madani Younis, whose first season there has just started with this production of Lee Mattinson’s bleakly funny Chalet Lines which he also directs. Set over a 50 year period in Chalet Number 12 at Butlins Skegness, we trace the family history of four generations of the Walker women as the troubled relationship between mother and daughter seems doomed to repeat itself time and time again.

We start in the modern day with an abortive attempt at celebrating Nana Barbara’s 70th birthday. Oldest daughter Loretta has brought along her two girls, Abigail and Jolene, to the cabin where they’ve always holidayed but things aren’t really going to plan for anyone. Relationships are horribly strained across the board and made worse by the absence of someone important and Mattinson takes us back in time to 1996 and then again to 1961 to explore the reasons for this and the deep-seated behaviour that has caused so much rancour. FYI, this was a preview. Continue reading “Review: Chalet Lines, Bush Theatre”