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By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Review: Noughts and Crosses at The Alexandra
Stark and unflinching!
Directed by Esther Richardson, Novel by Malorie Blackman, Adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz
In an alternate present, Sephy (Effie Ansah) and Callum (James Arden) find themselves divided by their backgrounds, Sephy is a cross and Callum is a nought and the country is split into the haves and the have-nots. Sephy’s Dad (Chris Jack) is a political leader with his own agenda whilst her mother (Amie Buhari) has a drink problem. Callum’s family have their own issues which they say is caused by the ruling crosses.
Sephy and Callum have been meeting in secret for some years and their strong connection is tested when Callum wins a scholarship to Sephy’s posh school, things continue to be fraught until one day, Sephy says she is going to a shopping mall and Callum discovers a bomb threat is about to be made to the building.
Malorie Blackman’s first book in the series is adapted here in a two-hour and ten-minute production, there is plenty of narration by the main characters which reflect the first-person alternating chapters of the novel. The narration also serves to facilitate the time jumps that happen within the story.
The cast delivers a strong performance though some of the dialogue is lost at times, I couldn’t tell if this was a choice or a microphone issue as microphones are utilised throughout the performance. Effie Ansah and James Arden deliver the complex relationship of Sephy and Callum and really feel connected.
The stage floor is a mirror and the set walls are essentially squares on squares on squares, some of which contain hidden doors and cupboards. Chairs, tables and staircases are really the only other elements which physically feature in this stripped-back narrative.
The bold music feels dark designed to burst and wash over the audience and includes ocean waves. There is some use of large projection for story setting and smaller screens dotted around the rear of the set display television reports.
Stark and unflinching, Noughts and Crosses is at The Alexandra until 19th November 2022, Book tickets using BrumHour’s affiliate link >> HERE <<.