The Theatreguide.London Review
Park Theatre Summer 2014
A familiar story is told with verve, wit and energy, revitalising it and making it, until a weak ending, fresh and alive enough to make it seem never heard before.
Ché Walker's ninety-minute drama-with-music introduces us to Klook, a man who has been through a lot but retained an honest and even poetic core, and Vinette, twenty years younger but already hardened by life.
They meet-cute, as couples always do in plays and films, go through the dance of flirtation and checking each other out with particularly impressive and delightful wit and style, and then undertake the far more difficult and frightening challenge of opening up and really getting to know each other and allowing themselves to be known.
Directed by the playwright, Ako Mitchell and Sheila Atim make the couple come alive and convince us at least for a while that we haven't met them or their equivalents in a hundred plays and films before.
Mitchell captures the smoothness of a man who is used to getting by on his wits but who can still surprise himself when exactly the right phrase or a moment of unpolished truth comes out of his mouth. Atim makes the girl strong, sexy and quick-witted, and adeptly navigates the near-cliché moments when she must be exposed as fragile and insecure inside.
Ché Walker's writing is sharp and incisive, marked by several impressive set pieces, like a rapid catalogue of conversation topics and a well-directed both-talking-at-once argument.
The drama is punctuated by several songs, music by Anoushka Lucas and Omar Lyefook, lyrics by Lucas and the playwright. They're more than adequate without being particularly memorable, their strongest quality being the discovery of musical opportunities in unexpected places, like the stop-time moment just before the moment of a spur-of-the-moment decision.
Things turn melodramatic near the end in ways we haven't really been prepared for, despite a prelude that hinted at darkness, and you can't help feeling that an ending has been imposed on the play because an ending was needed.
It is notable that the writing itself, formerly so sharp and incisive, goes flat at that point, as if the playwright himself couldn't fully commit to those last few pages of the script.
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Review - Klook's Last Stand - Park Theatre 2014