Such an original and interesting concept for a piece of theatre! Two actors play various characters who are navigating their lives in urban London. On stage with them, a DJ, complete with DJ booth, music and opinions on what is unfolding in front of him.
As the audience enters the auditorium, the DJ (Duramaney Kamara) is playing tunes and interacting with the crowd. It's a great atmosphere and a warm welcome to the performance space. Once the audience is settled, the DJ introduces the first two characters and the play takes off. What follows are stories of love, family and modern life.
Bangers is set against R&B and garage tracks from the past twenty years or so, along with original songs. There surprisingly weren't quite as many 'Bangers' as I expected. The original music is excellent and the lyrical performances of both the actors (Danusia Samal and Jim Caesar) are superb. But baring one or two upbeat and exciting classic tracks near the start, the remainder of the music was pretty chilled and mellow. Billed as 'part play, part gig', I expected to leave this show hyped and ready for a night out, but that was not the case.
The interjections from the DJ throughout the show, and the synergy between the cast and the crowd was excellent all evening. There is a lot of movement in the round auditorium, and the director and actors do a great job of using the whole performance space. It's an intimate and intense production with the audience very close and involved in the action.
The two main actors do a fine job with the complex lyrics and choreography, but the characters and storylines did become a little muddled at times. I heard a number of people asking others for clarification throughout the show: "Is he the same as...", "Was that the guy who...." It's always a risk when multiple characters are played by the same actors, and it would be great if more visual clues could be added to aid unfamiliar audiences (a small clothing change, a hairstyle, a hat). At some points Danusia raised her hood to indicate that she was playing a certain character, and that is a great example that worked well.
At the end, I don't think the play had as poignant an impact as I was hoping for. And nor did the soundtrack 'bang' as much I wanted. But the cast, creative ideas and ambition are great; this has so much potential.
When and Where?
ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall
Dates: 2 - 27 Aug (not 3, 8, 15, 22)
Time: 18:50 (70 mins)
Age Recommendation and Content Warnings
14+ | Contains distressing or potentially triggering themes, scenes of a sexual nature, strong language/swearing
Writer: Danusia Samal
Performers: Danusia Samal, Jim Caesar and Duramaney Kamara
Sound Designer, Composer and DJ: Duramaney Kamara
Director: Chris Sonnex
Lighting Designer: Martha Godfrey
Set & Costume Designer: Zoe Hurwitz
Stage Manager: Nikita Bala
Production Manager: Ethan Hudson
General Managers: HD General Management
About Mixed Other Arts
Mixed Other Arts was founded in 2020 by Danusia Samal. The company's focus is work that engages with key social issues like race and identity, wealth imbalance and the climate crisis with a dose of positivity and humour.
Mixed Other Arts' priority is to support and elevate work from marginalised voices. The company has provided creative and financial support to early career writers through its Spec Script Bursary, and recently collaborated with Climate Spring on their project Hot House Shorts - supporting emerging filmmakers to make a climate-centred short film. Bangers is their first full theatrical production.
🌟 REVIEW - Bangers (Theatre, Music) [Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023]🌟
🎟️ Disclosure: I am an Edinburgh Festival Fringe accredited media reviewer and as such I receive complimentary press tickets in exchange for my honest reviews. My reviews and star ratings are always my honest opinions.
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