Director: Roberta Zuric
Reviewer: Clare Howdon
Set in 1920’s London, Incognito’s Tobacco Road has more than a fleeting resemblance to the murky world of the BBC’s Peaky Blinders, complete with its period costumes and Nick Cave, Caravan Palace, and Fratelli’s soundtrack. Directed with a tangible confidence by Roberta Zuric, Tobacco Road centres around the emergence of a local girl gang, portrayed vibrantly by Atlanta Hayward and Jennie Eggleston, who decide to set up business in a tobacco warehouse and merge with a local boy gang (played with assurance by Angus Castle-Doughty, George John and Alex Maxwell) to form the Tobacco Road gang. However, despite a promising start, the cracks with the gang quickly start to appear.
The plot premise is exciting, and the dialogue and performance style certainly has parallels with Steven Berkoff’s earlier work, notably East. The energy and vitality of the five-strong cast perfectly complements the script and Zac Nemorin’s choreography is slick, stylish and assuredly executed by the physically astute ensemble. The intimate surroundings of the Pleasance Courtyard Upstairs makes the physical storytelling even more electrifying and there is a delicious feeling of danger to this production. There are also moments when the physical violence makes way for more subtler exchanges between the characters, which gives the piece a delightful juxtaposition and prevents the production from becoming just loud noise.
Incognito have built themselves quite a reputation over the past few years for their dazzlingly inventive work and Tobacco Road doesn’t disappoint. The ensemble successfully embodies Incognito’s trademark style and their unrelenting energy makes Tobacco Road a fast-paced and thrilling piece of theatre.
Runs until 27 August 2018 | Image: Tim Hall