*** A fresh young voice saying not very much
Shan Khan's debut play sat oddly in the Edinburgh International Festival; it will be much more at home at Soho.
Part of my response may well have been dictated by an antipathy to the bizarre programming of Edinburgh Festival theatre in recent years: even though Khan won the Verity Bargate Award for this play, it is Fringe rather than International Festival fare, as drug dealers Sharky and Showtime work from their "office" of a couple of payphones on a King's Cross street, peddling wraps of illicit substances, engaging in lengthy chats in street argot and working out how to "cream" some extra deals off the stash supplied by their godfather, Papa.
Khan's play is full of vibrant, animated speech, in which general street talk mingles with various ethnic idiolects (Sharky is British Asian, Showtime black), and the politicking both between retailer and customer and amongst various levels of the "business" are brought alive in their complexity. Abigail Morris's production keeps things bowling along with use of passing curtains and video projections to "wipe" the stage between scenes, and gratuitous changes of angle in the stage set. But it still feels a little like a calling-card play: great fun, but its principal function is simply to tell us that Khan is here.
Written for divento.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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