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Chapel Street review at Old Red Lion London

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In the course of an evening two young people in east London prepare for a night on the town. Fuelled by alcohol and disappointment, they meet for an evening that will change their lives forever. Luke Barnes’ debut play is an ostensibly simple two-hander that, in light of the recent riots and Cameron’s addressing ‘Broken Britain’, takes on an even deeper resonance.

The beauty here is Barnes’ use of language and rhythm as his characters progress their story in what is two perfectly-blended, deeply intimate monologues. This is not a new story but Barnes’ eloquence raises it above the mundane to become a morality tale of our time.

Integral to the success of Chapel Street is the casting. Young actors Daniel Kendrick as Joe and Ria Zmitrowicz as Kirsty are thoroughly absorbing in their roles. Kendrick underpins Joe with an intelligent self-awareness that predicts only a bleak future. Zmitrowicz graces Kirsty with a desperate innocence that can only be her undoing.

Director Cheryl Gallacher complements the piece with a simple staging, whilst Kady Howey Nunn’s practically faultless set design blends a generic decor of an East End boozer.

Production Information

Old Red Lion, London, August 4-26

Luke Barnes
Cheryl Gallacher
Thomas Moore Productions, Old Red Lion
Daniel Kendrick, Ria Zmitrowicz
Running time

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