Naked Soldiers review at Warehouse Croydon
On the run for a racially motivated crime, Tony hides out in a derelict building and encounters Jamal, a mysterious refugee who is also hiding.
Mark Norfolk's new play aims to examine the concept of British identity with the two protagonists battling to exist in the same space. There is a simplicity in the writing that serves the actors well and moments of real joy in witnessing how the two cultures first clash and then start moving together, as exemplified by the tribal dancing in Act II, but ultimately both the exposition and the final denouement are decidedly cliched.
The casting here is adequate rather than exemplary and, while Adam Sopp gives us a valiant portrayal of the white-rapping, football-loving Tony, we are never completely convinced. The same is true of Elisabeth Dahl appearing as the case worker Sally who has been taken in by the charms of sweet-talking Jamal. Dahl's delivery lacks the passion implicit in her character's nature and subsequently this particular sub-plot fails.
Ewart James Walters is perfectly convincing as Jamal, whose back history forms the foundation for the story. Sopp's scenes with Walters work well and the two actors form a very real rapport that gives the rather thin tale its heart.
Director Jeffery Kissoon is in firm control of the action and Heeke Scharrer's set, which has to mix the squalor of a burnt out building with the order of a hospital room is close to perfect, although ill served by uninspired lighting.
Warehouse, Croydon, May 21-June 20
- Mark Norfolk
- Jeffery Kissoon
- Ka Zimba Theatre Company, Warehouse Theatre
- Adam Sopp, Ashley Gerlach, Elisabeth Dahl, Ewart James Walters
- Running time
- 1hr 50mins