Pros: An immensely likeable cast and arresting dialogue based on real life interviews with young people.
Cons: Although adequate, the venue was poorly lit with rickety seating that didn’t always provide an ideal viewing experience.
A first time visitor to The Courtyard Theatre in Old Street, it seemed the Tour de France had started as I dodged cyclists hurtling in multiple directions. It was however worth the risk to review Fox Hunting; a chilling reminder of the growing anarchy on London’s streets.
The story begins with five boys attending the funeral of a peer who met his death at the blade of a knife. They begin to question their own existence and wonder what happened to their innocence. Are they as pure as a fox trapped in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle, or did they choose this way of life? Each of them tell their story in turn and explain exactly how they got here.
Terrel (Chris J Gordon) is anxiously awaiting his A level results and the passport to university. He dreams of life far away from South London, schmoozing with the hottest girls in the Student Union bar and long summer breaks on a hot beach. Laurence (Devante Mavour) has found solace in the church and is convinced faith can keep him safe from harm. Jake (Joshua Lewis) has fallen in love with the gorgeous Tash; no one would see anything wrong in an inter-racial relationship but she is related to a local face who doesn’t want Jake messing with his family’s blood. Darral (Quinton Arigi) seems to be the most sorted member of the group; he has just finished his first year at university but still carries a blade with him. The boyish, happy-go-lucky Joshua (David Alade) has just started a course at college but doesn’t seem nearly as streetwise as the others.
The skill in using real testimonies is to let the account speak for itself. Whilst it’s tempting to embellish the truth they’ve allowed a stronger voice to emerge. The characters, scenarios and conversations portrayed feel real and believable. This is great storytelling because there are no clichés or tabloid sensationalism. As a result, the truth is even more gripping and we can see how desperately sad the reality is.
The cast were excellent throughout and do justice to the gravity of the subject matter. David Alade deserves a special mention for creating such a well observed, creative piece of drama. The only down side was the venue’s bolted seating arrangement on what seemed to be a hollow platform. It meant every sneeze, cough and fidget created a vibration; I could feel ice being swirled around in someone’s drink behind me, but you can’t have everything!