BIG BANG | London, Camden People’s Theatre

This impressive scratch night at Camden People’s Theatre played out like a fully fledged fringe show. The quality of the four, twenty minute works-in-progress is testament to the talent of the writers and performers, and the theatre’s commission process.

Marika McKennel’s Cypher, performed as a duo with her sister, presented a charged and highly poetic look at the psyche of female graffiti artists. The pair artfully combined humour and heaviness to destroy the patriarchy with a smile. It is so exciting to see a theatre specifically commissioning artists from BAME backgrounds to create exciting, witty, and challenging work.

How I Saved The Black Rhino is a superficially cutesy lecture on animal conservation by dimpled Aussie Nathan Harrison, but through a mix of meta-theatre, humour and shock, it became a powerful piece indeed, and strikingly fresh. Divided, a one-woman play by Subika Anwar-Khan, presented a complex and challenging portrayal of a Muslim immigrant struggling to accept change, and a naturalised British Muslim struggling to connect to her roots. It is rare to find theatre with contemporary political relevance  so expertly observed and subtly performed.

Scratch nights often get a bad rep, especially if they involve minorities angrily shouting down the status quo. But tonight’s Big Bang was fresh, intelligent, wacky and powerful. I can’t wait for the next one.

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