DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

Random – Leeds Playhouse

Writer: Debbie Tucker Green

Director:  Gbolahan Obisesan

Reviewer: Rich Jevons

Debbie Tucker Green’s Random benefits from a script that combines the everyday with the sensational without giving up its gritty realism and compulsive drama. Yes, there is much tragedy here, but always complemented with the West Indians’ nuclear family’s sense of normality.

Max Johns’ set is made up of stacked-up chairs that are brought alive by Chloe Kenward’s inventive lighting design. Gbolahan Obisesan’s production really rams home the sense of the outsider that Sister (Kiza Deen) expounds in her performance. But what is even more remarkable is how Deen takes on the other characters in her rapid-fire delivery. 

No spoilers here, but the Brother faces a brutal knife attack that has a tragic end and both Sister and Mother are struck to the bone by this brutality. What the play really manages to do, quite astoundingly, is to question the cliches about knife crime, and in particular the demonising of black youth on this issue. It also explores the nature of grief which includes inappropriate responses from both the authorities and the local community.

Deen is simply superb in the way she juggles the multiple personas and really gives the piece flow and dynamic throughout. She manages to avoid any kind of cross-over or confusion as to who she is speaking out at any given time.

This is another pièce de résistance in the cannon of Leeds Playhouse’s pop up theatre, as we much await Amy Leach’s Hamlet.

Runs until 16th February 2019 | Image: Anthony Robling

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