Innovatively staged in an upstairs room at the Bush’s new library home, this double-bill of plays from Mediah Ahmed and Neil Daley provides a glimpse of two writing talents to watch, even if neither piece quite feels like the finished article.
Ahmed’s Repentance centres on the relationship between a Muslim girl and her black boyfriend. Intriguingly told through windows ripped in a paper wall, it’s a Romeo and Juliet story for contemporary London, leading to a similarly bleak conclusion.
“We’re different,” she says. “We fit,” he replies, entwining their fingers. It’s a straightforward message honestly told, and Ade Oyefeso and Mandeep Dhillon effectively convey the straightened agony of the young lovers.
A sharp change of gear heralds Daley’s contribution, Behind the Lines, energetically played out in a boxing ring space formed by police tape (there is no seating, so the audience must move to accommodate each play).
A crime has been committed, and through a series of snapshots a picture is built up; a young man on the run, a girlfriend receiving tragic news, two friends making jokes in blissful ignorance.
Although not an entirely lucid piece of storytelling, it compensates for what it lacks in clarity with sharp humour and heart.
Directed by rising star Blanche McIntyre, both plays were sourced via an extensive search overseen by Roy Williams and Angle's Charlotte Gwinner, whose team scoured six West London boroughs and whittled a longlist of over a hundred down to these two.
It’s an admirable and important undertaking, capitalising on the success of TriANGLE09 at Hackney Empire to bring vital new audiences, as well as playwrights, to one of the capital’s most significant new writing platforms.