How quickly we get a grasp of the characters is partly down to the profound writing of Oli Forsyth, who has really captured the situation. Not having first-hand experience, I cannot say with any authority how realistic this scenario truly is, but it certainly feels as real as you can get from the comfort of a theatre. It’s also down to strong performances; as Caz, Madelaine MacMahon is filled with a nervous energy, she can barely keep her tongue in her mouth as it protrudes with a snake-like quality, and Libby Liburd captures the mardy Bess perfectly
The staging looks good with the set feeling suitably dark, damp and depressing, with filthy tarpaulins and torn sleeping bags the only source of comfort within the camp. The clothes too are ripped and worn out, in one scene the characters mend their second hand garments with thread and duct tape, this one scene alone seems to have the biggest impact on the audience, when you realise that they will have to make do with what they have, and buying new isn’t an option.
The ninety minutes fly past due to the writing being so entirely absorbing, it’s real edge of your seat stuff as you see the psychological power struggle and the ease with which betrayal can be employed as a defense mechanism. By the final scenes, what should appear as criminal and callous, is interpreted more as desperation; clear evidence that Kings allows the audience to see beyond the anonymous beggar and have garner a greater understanding of the issue.
Throughout its run Kings is raising money for homeless charity Centrepoint.
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