This co-production between Pen-ultimate, Contact and the Albany sees five of the underworld’s highest rollers compete in the definitive Scrabble game to establish who is the kingpin and the champion wordsmith of them all.
This production is influenced by the films Fight Club and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and the directorial style of Guy Ritchie however it proves itself to be much cleverer as much of the prose is delivered as verse skilfully combined with some genuinely amusing comedy moments, kung fu and dance movements, tales of murder, betrayal and spelling. Each character takes a break from the verse to deliver monologues about their past or their tactics for the game and to contemplate what it takes to be a champion at Scrabble.
The real skill of this piece is the combination of the spoken word, music, video and projection along with the great use of the studio space that keeps the piece moving along at breakneck speed and engages the audience throughout. All five performers, Ben Mellor, Ali Gadema (aka Frisko Dan), Martin Stannage, Niven Ganner and Samira Arhin-Acquaah (aka Lucidity) work hard to convey narrative and work well as a spoken word collective, each bringing their own style and skill to the piece.
Considering this is Pen-ultimate’s debut, this promises great things for the future and really should not be missed as, it will appeal to people with an interest in language, as well as lovers of fresh, dynamic theatre.
Highly entertaining and skilfully directed by Montserrat Gili, A Night on the Tiles lives up to its name.
- Ruth Lovett