Growing up theatre weren’t the go to destination for anything. My only experience with the stage was the Festive nativity where I may have played a shepherd and a production I starred in at Goldsmith’s University in Year 4 of elementary school where I somehow ended up laying down on the stage playing dead. My point is that the theatre was pretty redundant for me growing up and even the present day. I had not gone to or had no desire to ever go so when Conrad hit me on the Friday eve with an invite to a Grime themed theatre production I couldn’t refuse.
The rendez-vous was Warren Street, a bit of a neverland for me because the only time I had been this far into the purgatory regions of central London was that time when I drove too far up Tottenham Court Road and missed the turning up past Holborn for VQ. After stopping by LEON for a bite to eat, steer clear of the one on TCR because it is maaad grubby, we found Camden People’s Theatre.
I had no idea what to expect. Conrad introduced me to his colleague Emma at Cardboard Citizens, the organisation who funded the production, who began to gauge my thoughts prior to the show. I explained that I was excited due to the inclusion of Grime but more intrigued as theatre didn’t really interest me as some of the other arts -well I wouldn’t necessarily say it didn’t interest me but the stories on stage never really told my story.
From a post apocalyptic intro, Merryville begins in the year 2020 after Brexit and at the tail end of a 2nd Conservative term in parliament. It’s a pretty grim view of our future, when the plague of gentrification has wiped out London’s diverse cultural melting pot, creating an environment of soulless concrete, off shore investment new builds, derelict tower blocks and housing estates. Only Dustin Roads and Dr. Greenfingers survive to lead the revolution of 1000 words. Their lives of being multiplatinum selling artists overshadowed by their desire to bring about change by politicising their fans to come together for the revolution.
This production made me think, I left feeling inspired, I hopped on that train and began crafting new material and finishing off projects I had started in the past but didn’t realise their potential until that Friday night a few weeks ago watching Merryville. I couldn’t help but share my delight with Emma and Conrad because for me it was great seeing the story of people who have been through the same struggles as you being told onstage. I really hope Merryville continues to be shown because so many people from the innercity areas need to see it due to it not just being entertaining but educating too. It will school you on your frustrations and in some way raise awareness to a generation of youngsters to open their eyes and pay attention to the rug being pulled right from under their feet.
If you haven’t got a chance to see the production contact HighRise Theatre, and ask them when they’ll be doing another run.
Originally published on Up In The Ear.