REVIEW: WHERE WILL WE LIVE? (Southwark Playhouse)
Council estates across the country are threatened with demolition; what does that mean for the people who live there? Where Will We Live? is a new production about the hyper-regeneration and gentrification of London. Elisabeth Winkler and Lucy Curtis shine a spotlight on this issue in Brixton, using the words of the people involved to tell the human stories behind the building works. What happens when you risk losing your home, your community and your local support network? What about your job and your child’s school? As one character says: “Look past this skin and look into my eyes”.
We meet a range of characters in a fast paced hour of words and music from residents threatened with eviction to politicians and architects. The issues surrounding the gentrification of an area are presented through personal stories gathered from interviews with real people using their own words. No names have been changed here; these issues are very real and immediate. The politicians are not presented kindly here yet we are hearing their own words, recorded for posterity. The post show Q&A provided an update on the fast changing situation from some of the people portrayed in the play.
The cast of seven play twenty parts against a background of drumming from two musicians. We hear their stories through monologues, conversations, town hall meeting and protest marches.
The set is black with chalk drawings on the back wall and crates used as seats and a podium. This is a play about people after all.
This is an affecting production that addresses some challenging issues. It is an hour of high energy theatre that feels very real as you walk past the ongoing building work at Elephant and Castle to reach Southwark Playhouse.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Dashti Jahfar