Photo Credit : Robert Day
Based on the book of the same name by Alex Wheatle, Pilot Theatre brings the world premier adaptation of Crongton Knights to the stage in Coventry before it tours around the country.
Crongton is a fictional representation of an inner city. The Knights are the band of 6 friends that we follow as they embark on a mission to save the reputation of one of the group. Their mission takes them not only on a journey through the city and into dangerous territory but also into each other’s lives.
The action all takes place on one turbulent night in the city meaning the small cast are on stage for the whole time. The story is told through acting, music, rap and dance. In times of high drama, the action is slowed down to convincing slow motion, making sure nothing is missed. This stylisation is used to great effect to portray various things including running a distance, on a small stage this would otherwise be impossible. All of the songs dotted through the play are a Capella with the cast harmonising and beatboxing. The vocals are haunting when the tension is high and vibrant in the good times.
This small cast all bring something different to the stage. The characters are well observed and are totally believable, the way they move, talk and interact with each other means any young adults in the audience will relate to them. It is impossible to single any of the cast out, everyone is strong and on point no matter what part they play. Their vocals match the impeccable acting.
In a studio space the set has to represent all of the scenes, this set is a triumph of design as it rotates and changes angles showing stairs or doors or platforms that become everything from a school yard, a bus and a housing estate. Decorated in graffiti it gives the whole piece an edgy street feel that perfectly fits the play.
This production contains high drama and tension in a real-world setting. There are messages and lessons to be learnt but these aren’t hammered home to the point of preaching, they are subtly woven into the story. It is a vibrant tale of our time that beautifully illustrates the complexity of teenage life in an inner city. It will have you on the edge of your seat one minute and laughing the next. The tale will open the eyes of the adults in the audience and hopefully resonate with the teens.
On until 22 February 2020
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