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On The Line – Camden People’s Theatre, London

Reviewer: Miriam Sallon

Writer and Director: Emilia Teglia

Everyone does stupid stuff when they’re teenagers. But for some, the consequences are far more severe. On The Line tells the story of two best friends Tia and Kai, both excelling at school and on paths of academic distinction, living in inner city London. One day they’re invited to a classmate’s mansion, and the gross wealth surrounding them spurs Tia to do something stupid: She steals a fishing fly worth £2,000 that she thinks her dad, a former fly-fishing champion, will appreciate as a birthday present. And who would even notice it was missing, in a house full of expensive treasures?

It’s a really interesting scenario; what’s two grand to a multi-millionaire? And do they even understand the value of the fly past its monetary value? Tia doesn’t think so. Obviously it’s theft, obviously it’s wrong. But is it so wrong that both Tia and Kai’s futures should be threatened?

This two-hander, written and directed by Emilia Teglia, is fast-paced, snappy, and brilliantly delivered. Giorgia Valentino and Zacchaeus Kayode bat the dialogue back and forth with easily, using a ton of London slang in a way that feels totally natural, without being exclusionary to anyone unfamiliar. There’s so much chemistry, it feels like they must have known each other before, and they oscillate between teenage giddiness and sober urgency with mastery.

It starts with someone in production checking the set, the lighting tech announcing he’s ready to start, and Valentino and Kayode being handed their school blazers. This doesn’t really add anything to the narrative and seems a bit unnecessarily awkward, but it’s only a mild distraction, quickly forgotten when Valentino and Kayode begin their story.

The ending, too, seems to lose its way slightly, forgetting the point it’s trying to make, or rather, convoluting it. But the story itself is meaty and interesting enough to give plenty food for thought on the journey home, and, despite the fact the play is intending to tour secondary schools and youth centres, this isn’t just a story for teenagers. It’s funny, tense and almost painfully pertinent.

Runs until 3 December 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

Funny, tense, painfully pertinent.

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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