“There are only two things that can break up a marriage; money and infidelity”
Never is the former tested so much as in 32 Peak Street, a drama focusing on Jesse and Susan a couple who wish to buy their dream house with the aid of their new agent Jamie, who has agendas of his own. Issues arise when we realise that Jesse has depleted their savings and thus, their deposit. In a proverbial race against the clock to secure the house, Jesse enlists the help of his mad-cap best mate Kieran to figure out a way to come up with the money.
The Tristan Bates theatre, being the intimate space it is, was an interesting choice for this play. On the one hand, it gave the audience a clear view of all happenings investing us in the storytelling. On the other, with the high octane energy of the piece, it sometimes felt claustrophobic and overpowering, but never boring.
The direction and ideas presented were beautiful and do T. D. Moyo great credit. She blended concepts beautifully. For example, stylised 1920’s master of ceremonies comedic performances (perfectly underscored by “Cabaret”) with Garage, all to highlight and differentiate between two crucial horse races that the audience are not able to see, but through her brilliant direction, are easily able to feel and keep up with.
The writing from Corey Bovell was in general excellent, and to me, the best part of the show. The dialogue is quick and witty and some of the exchanges will have you crying with laughter (“Idiot with the dead trim” …. That’s all I’m saying). You can tell this play has been through iterations and, even if by no means necessarily finished, is truly solid and worthy of its West End space.
The acting was solid, however, there were a few things which let it down. For example, enunciation. Apart from Corey Bovell, there were times I was struggling to hear all of the actors’ words, which is massively important because the show is paced extremely fast. There were strong moments from everyone but the truly stand out moments that left me wanting more were the exchanges between Jamie (Corey Bovell) and Jesse (Martin O-Whyte). This could easily be because their characters contrast, and therefore complement, each other so strongly, but I have to give credit to these two actors as I feel they had to dedicate deeply to make this “Guy Ritchie-esque“ bromance /bro-meny come to life. If I have to pick a favourite character, it would have to be Kieran played brilliantly by Alvin Ikwene. Although I admit Martin had more range in his performance, Kieran owned the stage from the minute he came on and for every subsequent scene, he was in. A massive well done to the whole cast.
I really do wish this show had a longer run to continue to grow into itself. I feel like some elements let it down such as the movement coordination, especially around the stylised dance sequences. The show has such, almost nuclear, levels of energy. It is easy for it to become so big that the energy feels unrefined and the actors need to be careful of that as this show calls for nuance upon nuance to get it where it needs to be.
However, if I’m going for pure entertainment factor, I loved it. A richly imaginative and well-written piece with some choice moments of pure joy and brilliance.
32 Peak Street runs at the Tristan Bates theatre until August 4th 2018. Find out more and book tickets here.