S.P.I.D. is a community theatre specializes in non-traditional spaces with previous Off West End Theatre Award nominated production. Based in Kensal house, the company engages with local community and their latest production is Arthur’s World, exploring the world of inner city, mixed raced family, joining together themes of gangs, computer games and drugs. It is Mikey’s birthday and his benefit dependent dad, Arthur is preparing a cake for his visit. This was interrupted by the youth Kino, bursting into Arthur’s flat amid the riots on the street, threatening him with a knife. When Mikey eventually joined, the revelation of their inter relationship gently unfolded and discussion issues of upbringing, class and education.
Written by Helena Thompson, it is an ambitious play in trying to tackle all these themes in just over 60 minutes. The confusion of identity in the community, making mistakes in life and the lack of opportunity are well observed. These themes are no doubt very relevant to the precise community the theatre company sets out to engage but there are a few problems. The aggressiveness and the physicality of Kino in the first part of the play feel excessive and the dialogue throughout the scenes between Arthur and Kino is overly cryptic. The same menace and unruliness effect can be achieved by subtler writing and direction. The play eventually gets on track when Mikey arrives, regaining some coherence. All the topics explored are briefly visited but the surreal end to the play, though intriguing, does not provide a satisfactory resolution to the issues set out. It seems to suggest escapism may perhaps be the best solution but probably not the best take home message.
The cast of three does a good job with Joseph Tremain as the unhinged and menacing Kino throwing himself fully into the physicality of his role. Paul Greenwood’s Arthur exudes the world weariness of a man who is fed up with life and resigned to living out the rest his life in his attic with only alcohol and pills for company. And Enyi Okoronkwo as the zen like and almost ghostly Mikeyis suitably mysterious.
It is a flawed play and require some work in editing and focusing on some of the stronger themes. But as an attempt to address all the themes, it is no doubt comprehensive.
Photo: Nick Rutter