REVIEW: Tobacco Road

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SHOW:  Tobacco Road

VENUE:  33 Pleasance Courtyard

TIME: 1515

DATES:   Until 27th Aug

Taking a trip to 1920’s London, Incognito Theatre present a loud and brash hour of physical theatre which highlights the plight of young people after the end of the First World War. 

Tobacco Road explores the challenges faced by a generation of young people dealing with issues and problems they had little or no part in creating.   In a London beginning to recover and change after the First World War, the audience is treated to a visual spectacle of dance, music, movement and drama to tell a story of crime and violence and just a little bit of hope. 

Incognito Theatre Company have developed a strong sense of style in the shows they bring to the Fringe and Tobacco Road builds on this reputation as a company that delivers.   It’s hard not to draw comparisons with the Peaky Blinders aesthetic but this is a story which is multi layered and achieves this in what feels like an extremely short Tim.   There are sub plots within the overall narrative which create a feeling of complexity and depth.   The five stories interweave and connect seamlessly and whilst some are fully explored, others are alluded to or  subtly signalled and this creates a sense that there is more to explore in the world of Tobacco Road. 

Atlanta Hayward and Jennie Eggleton present sharp and detailed peformances as women who happen to be gangsters and who make the better criminals from the outset.   Their intense physicality is well crafted, shifting from stage to stage of each character and blending perfectly with the three male members of the cast.   

Directed by Roberta Zuric, there is an energy and an urgency in the show which moves along at a frenetic pace.   In a short time and confined space, we see the gang move from small time crime to becoming part of a larger criminal underworld and the transition is a smooth one, even though there is violence and debauchery on the way.  The boxing scene is a particular highlight with the cast demonstrating great skill and timing in creating a simply stunning tableau. 

With engaging characterisations, outstanding performances, a strong script and a talented ensemble cast, Tobacco Road is a show which delivers a high quality theatrical spectacle that is a treat to watch.     

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