Monday, November 28

Block’d Off – Camden People’s Theatre

Bold, dynamic and unmissable. 

Block’d Off a brilliant addition to the curation of ‘Theatre in times of crisis’ autumn shows at Camden People’s Theatre. The play illuminates the unspoken realities of surviving in London for the working class. The characters based on true stories, all portrayed by Camila Segal, are deeply churning. Kudos to first-time Writer and Director Kieton Saunders-Browne for some stunning stagecraft.

The specificity of observations, from fixing Santander cycles to discussing the pieces of ham in their sandwich, will make you laugh. It also achieves the intricate suspension of the reality of going back and forth in time while the character’s trajectories progress and intersect. We start the play with an older woman enjoying the joy of moving to music that feels tender. One might lose count of more than seven characters we meet on stage, each with a unique point of view. Some memorable ones are the young couple who aspires to get out of this living by selling drugs and going to Spain. We witness young love and parents’ worries. The fear of running a business between gang wars all comes to the forefront—the lighting and sound double up as characters playing forces of transformation on Segal. With fantastic use of space in the Theatre and the audience, we are drawn into the tragic events unfolding.

The play is vocal about poverty and racism and turns an empathetic eye towards the living conditions, choices and realities of the ills provoking inhuman behaviour. An ode to the care support network that champions support, the only other actor to come on stage leaves one with hope in the community to show up and help make changes.

I felt moved, pained, and engaged. Don’t miss this production for its honest and intimate pulling back of a curtain on council living a fantastic Edinburgh Fringe Transfer. It makes us wonder how London the fourth costliest city in the world with all its development does not often bring on stage the stories of those who built it.

Playing until 19th November,

Reviewer: Anisha Pucadyil

Reviewed: 9th November 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★