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Human Jam

“Documentary theatre inspired by hs2”

Created by Camden People’s Theatre’s artistic director Brian Logan, with Shamira Turner and Tom Adams, the genre-blending piece confronts the upheaval caused by the HS2 project that’s happening on its doorstep.

Performed by Logan and Turner, Human Jam starts off as a fairly straight piece of documentary theatre. Accompanied by a deliberately lo-fi Power Point presentation (1990s-style clipart included), Logan explains how the expansion of Euston station for the HS2 terminus has resulted in a local green space, St James’ Gardens, being closed down. The interesting part is that St James’ isn’t just a park, it’s actually a burial spot containing 63,000 bodies.

With a metatheatrical flourish, the performance segues into a conversation with one of the dead residents researched by Logan. Thomas Spence, a long-forgotten Newcastle socialist, campaigned for justice in a manner that now makes him a good spokesperson for the local Eustonites sidelined and potentially uprooted by HS2.

As the exhumed reformer, Turner is excellent at zombie-like body humour, but the overall conceit is overwrought. Logan throws up way more questions than he answers, including a spiritual unease with grave destruction and vague parallels between the sale of land for HS2 and historic Enclosure Acts.

Perhaps none of this matters. At heart, this is community-centred theatre (and the show ends with a community choir joining them on stage). But, like the doomed railway project, it doesn’t feel close to being finished.

Production Details
Production nameHuman Jam
VenueCamden People’s Theatre
StartsMay 7, 2019
EndsMay 25, 2019
Running time1hr 10mins
CreatorBrian Logan, Shamira Turner, Tom Adams
DirectorBrian Logan
Set designerBecky-Dee Trevenen
Lighting designerTanya Stephenson
Sound designerTom Adams
CastBrian Logan, Shamira Turner
Production managerAmy Daniels
ProducerCamden People's Theatre
VerdictInteresting but underdeveloped exercise in documentary theatre that has community at its core
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Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

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