Written by David Watson and directed by Maggie Norris, Knife Edge is the performance created by The Big House, a charity that works to support care leavers, offenders and young people at risk of offending. The stories presented in the play are the experiences of the people the charity works with, as are the cast themselves. This makes the show very intriguing, as well as a genuinely brilliant piece of work.
We are introduced to The Girl With No Name (Tezlym Senior Sakutu) at the start of the play, as she questions what she is doing with her life by spending it with her boyfriend Aaron (Adam Deacon) in Nando’s. When she realises their relationship isn’t leading to anywhere good, we go on her journey of self discovery. As the play goes on, we meet her dad, the cool but hot-headed Delroy (Dymond Allen) who tell his daughter about a new restaurant he is opening. Just as The Girl begins to see a potential in their rocky relationship, the tragedy that follows prevents that. But that leads her to find a purpose in life, a passion in the form of a Hawaiian restaurant.
It is important to note that the majority of the cast are not professional actors, which is hard to believe because the performances are brilliant. Sakutu as The Girl With No Name stands out as the lead character, taking charge of the space effortlessly. It’s really refreshing to see a young woman who has never performed before shine so well and lead a show. The comedy in the play was on point, and embodied brilliantly by Allen’s character. His hilarious delivery captured Delroy’s energy, but he was also able to present to the audience his more temperamental characteristics. Additionally, Deacon, a long time supporter of The Big House, gave an impressive performance as Aaron, in his usual urban style which is always an enjoyable watch.
As a promenade performance the audience are guided around the restaurant space, accompanied by the beat of a drum, and combinations of singing and rapping. The music is quite a key aspect to the show as it brings everyone together at the end of the performance, to prepare for the luau – a feast made for sharing. Knife Edge really encompasses the togetherness and importance of community. The themes very much look at how important it is to have a support network when things get hard, something which The Big House also supports.
It’s always great to see such a diverse cast, and representations of narratives that differ from what is considered mainstream. The fact that these stories get their own platform is inspiring, and is representative of the changing landscape of theatre in London. As much as Knife Edge is a show that highlights these experiences, it is also a showcase of young, raw talent. With a great cast, tasty Hawaiian food, funky music, and an important message, Knife Edge is not to be missed.
Knife Edge is at POND restaurant until 12th June. Find out more about The Big House.