I Love Acting, But F*ck This Industry @ Theatre Peckham

I visited Theatre Peckham this week to watch the incredible play I Love Acting, But F*ck This Industry.

I Love Acting But F*ck This Industry follows three young black actors looking to make a name for themselves in the bleak post-COVID entertainment industry. The audience are brought along on the perpetual ups and downs that each of them must face on their individual journeys towards greatness. 

As we take to our seats, we are greeted by the laughter and affectionate taunting of friends Manny, Ade and Zion, already sitting on the stage. Their camaraderie bridges the gap between acting and real friendship, an early indication of great things to come from this provocative and endlessly relevant title. When the chatter of the audience lulls and the music is silenced, Manny, Ade and Zion give us a peek behind the curtain of the entertainment industry, with periods of triumph and success marred by long stretches of little to no work disappointment and setbacks. Their story is set in the years following the total standstill of the pandemic that set so many fledgling careers back. While casting calls are being made again and the population turns to the entertainment industry for escape, the reality for these boys remains ZOOM auditions, self-tapes and little-to-no feedback from directors and agents. We learn early on that the main theme of this play is ambition, and how each of them utilise it to get ahead in life.

Mohammed Mansaray as Ade – I Love Acting, But F*ck The Industry _ Credit_ SERGIO LOPEZ BORJA

For Ade (Mohammed Mansaray), ambition means proving the naysayers wrong and providing for his mother in her old age and illness that the NHS is stretched too thin to treat seriously. He is the only “classically” trained actor of the trio, having just graduated he’s trying to prove to prove to his friends that the money and three years was worth it. Ade is focused, something that leaves him somewhat outcast amongst his peers as his single-minded drive makes him uptight and defensive of his creative choices. Ade recites a quote by Pablo Picasso often and lives by it, “The picture lives only through the person who is looking at it”. Ade is determined to stay true to who he is, but struggles with all that he must sacrifice to get even a modicum of respect in his chosen industry. His strong opinions on striking, the use of A.I in the entertainment industry and the lasting impacts of the pandemic, make for an interesting and likeable character.

Manny (Alvin Ikenwe), views ambition as something that eventually boils down to luck, or as he puts it, “Timing”. He is dedicated to his craft, putting in hard work and effort when necessary, driven by a need to move out of his crowded home and finally have a space all to himself. Yet he finds himself floundering and unmotivated after years of trying with no success. He is the only one of the three to mention a girlfriend and wanting a life outside of acting which takes some of his focus away at critical junctures in his career. Manny is funny, laid-back and truly believes that his time is coming; he only needs to wait. However as his friends book roles, he is left as the hype man receiving little support back. I wont spoil too much of Manny’s story and where it takes him, but as he struggles with his identity, he begins to lose sight of what drew him to acting in the first place.

Alvin Ikenwe as Manny, Mohammed Mansaray as Ade, Malachi Pullar-Latchman as Zion – I Love Acting, But F*ck The Industry _ Credit _ SERGIO LOPEZ BORJA

Finally, Zion (Malachi Pullar-Latchman), approaches ambition timidly; unsure of what is next for him. While all of the friends mention dropping out of the industry to focus on more lucrative careers, Zion is the only one who seems to really think about giving up. He discusses going back to selling drugs as it’s something he knows he is good at, despite all the time, effort and money he has put into acting. While the others seem determined to make it work, Zion appears to be looking for an easy answer to all of his problems. His is the character who most drives home the meaning of this play. One of the closing lines spoken by Ade, asks: “Are you, you?” Zion is the perfect example of how the industry chews people up and spits them out.

I Love Acting, But F*ck This Industry took writers Faisal Dacosta and Raphael Famotibe a year and half from conception to production, and I could tell from just a short cast and crew Q+A that this story was not born just from a frustration or anger with the entertainment industry, but a place of love and respect also. One of the first questions asked to them was about the eye-catching name of the show. While provocative, the duo commented on the relatability of the sentiment, not just within the acting community and industry, but across all workplaces and career paths. This is a story for everyone (Raphel notes, commenting on the diversity within the audience) and one that everyone should go to see.

Malachi Pullar-Latchman as Zion – I Love Acting, But F*ck The Industry _ Credit_ SERGIO LOPEZ BORJA

Overall, this is a story about ambition in the face of hardships. Actors Mohammad, Alvin and Malachi were asked what change they wanted to see in their industry and the consensus was that actors and creatives alike deserve more respect. To be treated as more than just a number on a call sheet or ZOOM audition 25 out of 50. The writers and actors strikes are proof enough that stories like this one need to be told and what an excellent story it was.

From the writers and actors, to director Rayxia Ojo, Movement Director Yemurai Zvaraya, Sound Designer Rochelle Frommars, Set Designer Aliyah-Marie Yanguba, and Costume and Hair by NastaciaRoosevelt, I Love Acting, But F*ck This Industry is a brilliant saga that breathes life into the post-pandemic struggles that we all have felt. It is funny, heart-breaking at times, and above all else, truthful.

I Love Acting, But F*ck The Industry ran @ Theatre Peckham’s Young Gifted and Black Season 10th-18th October


I Love Acting, But F*ck This Industry is a brilliant saga that breathes life into the post-pandemic struggles that we all have felt. It is funny, heart-breaking at times, and above all else, truthful.

OUT OF 100

95 %
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Production Design
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For the Culture
100 %

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