Incognito Theatre have made quite a name for themselves over the last couple of years, with their previous production All Quiet on The Western Front garnering critical acclaim. They return this year with a new production, which has already been gaining plaudits across the UK. Fans of Peaky Blinders will recognise the gang land culture of 1920’s London that is so vividly brought to life in Tobacco Road.
A thrilling journey through murky the back streets of East End London, the cast of five tell the story of a group of petty criminals who join forces to build a criminal empire. From pickpocketing to fixed boxing matches, their only desire is to be the cream that rises to the top, and to fill their pockets as quickly as they can, all while evading the long arm of the law.
Tobacco Road is an exemplary piece of physical theatre, the choreography from Zak Nemorin is stunning and flows at a ferocious pace. This is most evident when a boxing match is conjured up in a strikingly effective way, helped by the raw emotion bubbling from Angus Castle-Doughty.
Director, Roberta Zuric has ensured that the entire piece keeps pace with the story and movement, and despite the relatively small stage, you’re never quite sure where to look next. George John and Alex Maxwell capture the lovable rogue nature of their characters. While Atlanta Hayward and Jennie Eggleton are wonderful as the female gangsters inspired by Alice Diamond.
Incognito Theatre have once again proved themselves to be a strong presence at the Fringe, Tobacco Road tells a story that is near 100 years old, but it leaves its audience wondering if things have really changed that much. With opportunities for young people dwindling and gang violence evolving, this piece of physical theatre tells a more important story than perhaps any of us dare imagine.