The tiny off-West End theatre on Jermyn Street has opened with a flourish with its Footprints Festival, which runs throughout June and July.
In the Showcases strand, Between the Cracks presents three plays by the theatre’s creative associate artists and guests. Actor-writer performance is always fascinating to watch, and this trio of plays both complement and challenge each other.
The longest of the plays is If Destroyed Still True (I.D.S.T.), written and performed by Theo Ancient and Jack Corden, joined by Whitney Kehinde, which runs almost an hour. In its central presentation of a friendship between two young men where neither can really reach out and say what they feel. What is unsaid is just as powerful as what is said, and the two characters are as real as you can get.
The pressures of expected masculinity lead to a tragic outcome in this deeply effective and thoughtful piece of drama, peppered with strong outbursts and recognisable snatches of conversation. This play is co-directed by Hana Pascal Keegan and Sarah Stacey and presented as a reading. It proves to be a powerfully structured piece about friendship and male mental health.
The Butterflies of Life, written and performed by Chirag Benedict Lobo and Daniel Adeosun, directed by Darren Sinnott, is a tight, short and witty piece which doesn’t waste words. In contrast to If Destroyed Still True, this friendship between the two men is characterised by their closeness and physical joshing, and their shared experience of being outsiders.
Their confidence with each other is in contrast with their unease with their fellow students at the university (primarily white, mostly from a place of privilege). In just twenty minutes this one act piece shows the potential to grow into something even stronger.
In La Gringa, performed by Daniella Piper and Livia Sardao, cultural norms are explored where the daughter is “on a gap year”, but her traditional Columbian family, arriving on a visit, need to be placated with her conforming to their expectations – studying, putting family first, accepting the status quo. The spectre of an absent father who seems to have been a rebel is a very clear presence in this kitchen, as the generations of women battle to find some common ground.
The title of the play means an outsider, a non-Hispanic person, which could apply to both women in the eyes of their family. This play, another one-act piece, is written by Camila Robinson-Rodriguez and directed by Khadifa Wong, feels as if it is has much more to say and would definitely benefit from further expansion.
Between the Cracks streamed live from the Jermyn Street Theatre on 16 June 2021.
The Footprints Festival continues to the end of July – peruse the full programme here. In-person tickets are restricted to the numbers allowed under social distancing; livestream tickets are unlimited.
LouReviews received complimentary access to review Between the Cracks.