DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

The Windrush Warriors – Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Reviewer: Ron Simpson

Writer: Nicola Gardner

Director: John Klark

First it must be admitted that this is an extremely difficult play to review. Sitting in the fourth row on the flat floor of the Cellar Theatre at Lawrence Batley it was never easy to see the actors all of whom spent most of the play sitting at a table. Then the broad Jamaican (or, in one case, Barbudan) accents, often obscured by a laugh, were not easy to make out; much of the humour had to be taken on trust from the laughter of a mostly black audience that clearly enjoyed themselves almightily.

The play, apparently figured by Nicola Gardner as a possible television series and presented by the Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester, deals with the dreadful problem of the children of the Windrush generation who, now pensioners, are threatened with deportation – because they lack passports. It concentrates on four of them who gather to play dominoes, knit or work through crosswords at a local community centre. Their conversation is humorous and squabbles are good-humoured until they decide to fight back. Sadly no real progress is made beyond choosing a name and an anthem which they declaim vociferously at the final curtain. The problem, in truth, seems to have become another conversation piece.

Jennifer Marvaree-Robinson, Kathy Owen, Byron Xander-Jackson and Lukeland Charles are a formidable quartet, all full of humour, timing and joy. The relative realism of the characters is thrown into relief by the two members of the community centre staff. Nicola Gardner is apparently an accomplished stand-up comedian which was pretty obvious from her performance as the receptionist (manager, she would claim), with its tales of being an air hostess with Fly Me Africa and decidedly off-colour jokes delivered with an air of innocence. Tommy C. Carey is more problematic, a nice idea that doesn’t quite come off, the young white caretaker who idolises Bob Marley, dresses like him, thinks black, but in reality is a bit of a mother’s boy.

This is an entertaining piece, with serious points about the reality of London in the 1950s or the appalling behaviour of the current government, made, then discarded in a gale of laughter. Maybe the television series will have more teeth.

Runs until 21st June 2024

The Reviews Hub Score

Amusing - lacks teeth

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The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. 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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