Preview: World’s End at The King’s Head Theatre

Tom Milligan and Mirlind Bega credit Kate Harding
Tom Milligan and Mirlind Bega credit Kate Harding

The King’s Head’s popular Queer Season will this year complete its season with World’s End – the debut play from upcoming writer James Corley which will run from 27th August until 21st September.

It’s November 1998 on the World’s End Estate in Chelsea. Energetic single mum Viv (Patricia Potter; Holby City) has just moved in with her shy, troubled son Ben (Tom Milligan; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, West End), eager to start afresh and escape economic precarity. Next door, single father and painter-cum-security guard Ylli and his confident, yet enigmatic son Besnik are also negotiating their horizons, against the televised backdrop of catastrophe in their native Kosovo.

Each grappling with their own expectations, assumptions and responsibilities to family, neighbours and nation, emotions run high as Viv, Ben, Ylli and Besnik are thrown together.

As they move towards the new millennia, both parents are willing to fight for a better future for their children. Yet with all four of their isolated worlds coming into orbit, and Ben and Besnik growing ever closer over Nintendo 64 sessions, tentatively becoming more than friends; it becomes clear that they all imagine freedom very differently.

A subtle rumination on single parenthood, conflict, sexuality, videogames and the ways that trauma and oppression shape us, World’s End is a deceptively gentle and achingly tender portrait of lives lived in the heart of a metropolis, yet squarely on the world’s edges.

It is also an LGBT love story, told with immense pathos against a background of humanitarian tragedy… and The Legend of Zelda.

The play is the debut of emerging writer James Corley and is directed by Harry Mackrill who was Associate Director at Kiln Theatre (2018-19) and currently Associate on David Hare’s adaptation of Peer Gynt at the National Theatre. Mackrill was also Associate on the National’s production of ‘Angels in America’ (2017). World’s End marks Mackrill’s return to the King’s Head Theatre, following 2016’s revival of Paul Boakye’s critically acclaimed play, Boy with Beer.

The run closes the King’s Head Theatre’s – always innovative and hugely popular – Queer Season, which this year is opened with a Tennessee Williams double-bill – Southern Belles.

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