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Angels With Dirty Accents review at Cockpit Theatre, London – ‘vigorously theatrical’

Scene from Angels With Dirty Accents at Cockpit Theatre, London Scene from Angels With Dirty Accents at Cockpit Theatre, London
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In this articulate drama from R.Kid productions, angels walk the earth in a state of uncertainty.

Heaven has restricted immigration and so a new purgatory has evolved. Where death once offered eternal life in paradise, there is now a waiting game to be played. The angels manifest as drug addicts, the destitute and homeless. The real world ignores them and they are policed by archangels and fed hopeful propaganda by prophets.

Angels With Dirty Accents is a morality play of sorts, fusing lively naturalistic drama and language with mythic themes. Its visual style is equally bold and there is a fascinating juxtaposition between the grime of the streets and apparitions such as Alex Eagles’ majestically malevolent Asmodeus, tattooed and towering, cloven-hoofed over the cast.

There is a problem however with the pace of Jess Cummings’ production and the first half gets bogged down with exposition and the need to establish the premise and the characters. Things improve in the second half and quickly get surreal, as the declamatory dialogue is matched by a heightened theatricality. Wings are ripped from fallen angels, the dead rise from their graves and the prophet’s heart is ripped from his chest.

There’s a genuine lack of fear in this piece of theatre. It’s gauche, with segments of inaccessible argument, but it’s also ambitious and this is reflected in the enthusiastic performances.

Cummings’ artistic vision could do with a little finessing but otherwise this is an intrepid play that puts a new spin on the myths of the afterlife.

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Verdict
Fresh and fanciful take on the morality play given an vigorous theatrical treatment  
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