The Kilburn Passion @ Tricycle Theatre review

‘Life moves pretty fast in Kilburn, If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it…’ Ferris Bueller references aside, that’s exactly what the busy residents of Kilburn are forced to do as a humdrum day is turned on its head. The Kilburn Passion, by one time Kilburn resident Suhayla El-Bushra is a thumping choreographed play by the Tricycle Young Company Ensemble, back by popular demand after a sell out run in April as part of the Takeover Festival.
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Like London itself, the play is fast paced, throwing spotlights onto lives and stories that rotate in quick succession. Kilburn is depicted as a vibrant place with its own distinctive ambiance, but like the wider metropolis it sits in, it cannot escape the pervasive feelings of loneliness and disillusion.

The Kilburn Passion covers a broad cross section of London society, black, white, Asian, straight, gay, disabled, businessman, street hawker and a mix of stories, from identity problems between lovers, to being unable to profess feelings to someone you love. Characters range from a young man struggling to grow up and raise his son alone, a bitter, racist bus driver, an Irish youth consumed by drug induced psychosis, to a young man with learning difficulties who just wants everyone to be happy, but is shunned and ignored by the rest.

The audience is never formally introduced to the characters, instead catching a name here and there. They are just as anonymous to the audience as they are to each other, too busy to notice each other, but slowly their lives begin to intertwine. The cast of 19-25 year olds gives the play a youthful energy, strengthened by the slick production values and choreography imbued by director Emily Lim. The cast often break into song and dance and enter each other’s inner monologues, as bus passengers, crowds, shop mannequins and more, contrasting against the apparent anonymity and seclusion of the characters.

The Kilburn Passion could’ve easily been a run of the mill London based play, as the theme of isolation and detachment found in modern London has been covered many times. But it’s the sense of community, pride and warmth of the characters that breaks down London’s formidableness and covers the subject in a fresh and heart-warming way. Now, next time you go out, stop, take a look around and acknowledge the person next to you. Give them a hug… Or just say hi, I’m sure that will do! 4/5

Review written by Evan Parker.

The Kilburn Passion is currently showing at the Tricycle Theatre until Saturday 9th August. For more information on the production, visit here…

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