Ché Walker’s newest work presented at the Park Theatre is yet another breath of fresh air in the scope of London’s music theatre. Set in an intimate space the audience becomes part of a conversational performance – a play with songs – in which the actors unpretentiously tell us their story, their past converging to a present of togetherness.
Walker’s writing is poetic, entrancing and simultaneously witty and very down to earth. The audience is led through a constant dance between the magic and hipnotising beauty of Lucas and Lyefook’s songs and the harshness of reality and the daunting past of both characters. This play feels like a permanent search for a fleeing ephemeral happiness. It speaks of how Klook and Vinette’s love became the safe harbour they both seeked. It is endearing, entertaining, with moments and words so powerful it will touch you in unexpected ways.
Ako Mitchell gives life to Klook, a charming and intriguing character. We see him through Vinette’s eyes as the stranger who bears kindness and sadness. Vinette, outstandingly played by Sheila Atim, is a feisty yet caring and sensitive young woman. Their paths cross and together they grow and learn from each other, unraveling a world of possibilities and dreams for one another. They learn they are ‘giants’ inside and not the hopeless individuals they were made to believe they were. Before one another all the masks put on for the world are slowly removed.
Rio Kai is the only musician on stage alongside the two actors bringing us the compelling soulful/swinging/jazzy tunes. Walker and Lucas’ lyrics are sung poetry and Atim and Mitchell’s voices are perfect in the delivery.
The exposed set up of this play and the simple and honest direction make the emotional journey all that more powerful. A stripped set, two performers and one musician on stage is all it takes to create the drama, tension and beauty required in this play. Even though in the end reality beats the dream and fades away the hopeful image of a wonderful future, you still feel overwhelmed about the positive impact one person can have on another person’s life. It is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching, it breaks you and makes you stronger at the same time.
With very little actual physical contact, this was one of the most real and touching portrayals of love and desire I have ever seen on stage – ‘I know what you need before you need it – and that is love’. Well worth the standing ovation from the audience. 5/5
Review written by Sofia Moura.
Klook’s Last Stand is currently playing at the Park Theatre until Sunday 6th July. For more information on the production, visit here…