Inequality, unemployment and gang culture collide in a tale of friendship in the heart of inner-city London as King Hamlin comes to Park Theatre.
Against the backdrop of urban London, King Hamlin follows young friends Hamlin, Quinn and Nic as they experience the tensions of a friendship punctured by pride, revenge and turf wars.
Interweaving urgent issues of poverty, race and social class, Williams sheds a light on the external pressures causing a devastating impact on communities in today’s uncertain climate. The world premiere of playwright Gloria Williams’ latest play follows in the footsteps of Bullet Hole, which premiered at Park Theatre in 2018 to critical acclaim.
After his dad dies, Hamlin’s goal is to finish school, get a good job, and build a better life for himself and his mum, Mama H. When live-wire Quinn and troubled Nic offer Hamlin easy money in return for some county line drug trafficking, his dreams, his mother’s hopes and the friendship of the three are put to the test. Will Hamlin stand his ground or end up on the wrong side of the tracks? In a maze of inequality, unemployment and gang culture, it’s a struggle to know where to make a right turn and how to undo a wrong one.
Playwright Gloria Williams said, “With social indicators like poverty, masculinity and exposure to violence seen as indicators to knife crime, I wanted the play to show a young man of a mixed-race background taking personal responsibility for his choices. Knife crime is something that’s very controlled by the media and making young boys seem inhumane. I want to tell stories where we control our narrative and portray a young man from a particular demographic, and a particular stage in his life, who may hold a certain degree of self-hate and project it onto others. We are living in a time where the public have become desensitised to knife crime, and the media have a divisive culture where we can’t emphathise because it’s assumed to be connected to gang culture. The power of story-telling can offer a space for everyone to identify with these issues regardless of background.”
The cast comprises Kiza Deen as Mama H, Harris Cain as Hamlin, Andrew Evans as Nic and Inaam Barwani as Quinn.
King Hamlin is at Park Theatre 19th October to 12th November 2022.