REVIEW: TRIBE (London Theatre Workshop) ★★★

Tribe London Theatre Workshop

“What would Bear Grylls do?”

Tribe is a new play about Scouting and its relevance for the youth of today, written by Brandon Force, Matthew McCray and Rowena Russell.

It’s 2012 and a group of Scouts are spending the weekend preparing for a competition against other troops, to challenge their Scouting skills. This was the year the Scout Association revised its policies to become more inclusive and embrace diversity, causing upset for many of those wedded to the traditional roots. The four boys and two girls, along with their two leaders, don their woggles, ditch their mobile phones and practice their skills in the outdoors. The initial order and formality quickly slips away and the challenges of inclusion, gender parity and religion come to the fore.

The cast of eight brings the tale to life in a small space which has been cleverly transformed into a woodland campsite. Robert J Clayton is a convincing Baden-Powell as well as an American Scout leader struggling to balance his family life with his responsibilities for the Scouts in his care to the despair of his co-leader (Marcus Churchill). Georgia Maskery and Shalana Serafina play the two girls roped in to make up the numbers as lots of the boys have chosen football over a weekend in the outdoors. Initally the outsiders, they become key players as the time moves on, racing around in the woods, singing around the campfire and creeping out of their tents at night.

In a world of rising nationalism and discussion of ‘values’, Tribe presents a story of a very traditional organisation trying to stay relevant in the 21st century. Anyone who was a Scout or has spent time in a tent as a teenager will enjoy this play and find themselves singing along with the energetic young cast.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Cameron Slater

Tribe plays at London Theatre Workshop until 8 July 2017