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The Angry Brigade

at Citizens Theatre

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The RCS’s latest production is an engrossing exploration of the complexities behind political anarchy.

Image of The Angry Brigade

In this latest offering from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s talented students, RCS graduate Debbie Hannan has produced a thrilling production exploring the ideals of political anarchists and the perspective of those trying to stop them. Despite the bold difference between the two acts (as intended by the playwright, James Graham), strong performances on both sides bring the play together, creating a cohesive performance.

Graham’s two-part play begins in 1971 in the secret basement of Scotland Yard, where a team of burgeoning detectives have been assembled by their commander (Michael Wallace) and assigned the task of unearthing The Angry Brigade, an anonymous anarchist group behind a string of London bombings.

Malcolm Cumming shines as young officer DS Smith who invites his team, Morris (Kip Lawson), Parker (Titana Muthui), and Henderson (Karine Dokken) to absorb the incongruous behaviours of their suspects in order to decipher their regime. Their experimental mode of investigation results in a colourful display of dancing, dope smoking and free love.

The second act has a more informal unfolding than its predecessor. Set in Stoke Newington, the radical tetrad of anarchists Anna (Megan Valentine), Hilary (Anna Russell-Martin), John (Chase Brown) and Jim (Elliot Baxter) are conceiving ideas and planning the destruction of society. Yet they barely seem like terrorists at all but rather coherent youths who are simply romanticising the possibility of a better world. Graham’s play explores the similarities in their aims and desires whilst literally halving the play sliced down the middle in a symbolic exploration of the right and left.

The final year BA Acting Students from the RCS do not disappoint in this politically charged, eye opening yet comical piece. Notable performances from Kip Lawson and Kyle Gardner deliver high energy and comic relief throughout the first half, with Megan Valentine pulling on the audience members’ heart strings in the latter.

All in all, an impressive final piece from the students who have yet again churned out another belter!