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NO MILK FOR THE FOXES – Camden People’s Theatre, London.

No-Milk-For-The-Foxes-Camden-Peoples-Theatre-22-April-9-May-courtesy-of-Joyce-Nicholls-10-700x455Presented as part of Camden People’s Theatre’s ‘The State We’re In’ festival of political theatre, No Milk For The Foxes combines the talents of spoken word artist Paul Cree and theatre-maker/beatboxer Conrad Murray.

Cree and Murray have formed the new company Beats&Elements. In No Milk For The Foxes they explore the voices of two working class security guards, Mark (Cree) and Sparx (Murray), through a challenging mix of spoken word, live looping, beatbox and silence. The duo use each of these components to great effect, particularly the silences, where their facial expressions and body language portray different attitudes towards the same problems: how to cope living on a zero hours contract, how to cope with boredom at work, and lastly, how to work and socialise with your colleagues.

 No Milk For The Foxes has been carefully constructed. The pockets of silence, bursts of beatbox and vocal loops, overlaid by Cree’s politically charged lyrics, build the narrative and tension, slowly revealing more and more about these two characters. The more we know, the more we realise the pair have very different agendas and outlooks towards work, money and aspirations for their future.

The choice made by set designer Rosalind Russell to use a limited colour palette of red, grey, white and black heightens the banal, mundane routine of Mark and Sparx’s working life, and contrasts nicely with the colour of the lexical choices made by Cree and Murray.

Cree as Mark is compelling to watch, from making a cup of tea to his quietly devastated reaction to a piece of really crushing news, we witness how destructive zero hour contracts can be to anyone desperately trying to support themselves and their family. Murray as Sparx is a parody of someone who projects all his problems on others. He talks big and loud, and shouts down his friends in a bid to defend himself, even though, if roles had been reversed, an offer of support and friendship would have been given.

No Milk For The Foxes successfully demonstrates how unfair life can be, particularly for those who really try to conform, fill the forms, tick the boxes and turn up on time. It is a highly emotive piece, humorous too, and goes a long way to highlighting some pertinent social issues that need addressing by whichever party/parties come to power in the upcoming election.

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Reviewed 22/05/2015

By Emily Jones
@JonesEmilyh

22nd April – 9th May 2015
Camden People’s Theatre, London, NW1 2PY.

 

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