Elephant and Castle shopping centre is more famous for being an eyesore than for its shops, and is due to be demolished in a couple of years' time, so I guess nowadays when a shop closes there's not exactly a rush to occupy the empty unit. The Royal Court have taken advantage of this, and turned the unused Unit 215 into Theatre Local for the next few months. Most of the upcoming Jerwood Upstairs productions (including Disconnect
which I saw last week) will be doing a handful of performances there, but to kickstart the season there's the full run of a play originally staged in 2008, random
by debbie tucker green (not a typo, the author doesn't use uppercase letters in her name or play titles.)
Seroca Davis is the only performer, playing all four members of a family (named as only Sister, Brother, Mother and Father - Sister is the largest part which may be why the script specifies a young black actress) in this 50-minute monologue that spans a single, eventful day. In the first half we hear their thoughts throughout the morning and the slightly poetic text has a lot of funny, warm moments as we get to know the characters. At roughly lunchtime the tragic random event of the title occurs, and the play does equally well in showing their despair and incomprehension. Pretty much standing on one spot for the entire running time, Davis is very impressive, shifting unfussily between characters, and it's her energy that keeps the story of a family tragedy from being simply upsetting. The location is also fitting, since some shops are still open at the time the play starts (the unit's not far from the entrance to a bowling alley) so life still goes on outside, in keeping with the theme of an ordinary day gone horribly wrong. Not exactly comfortable viewing but very powerful.random
by debbie tucker green is booking until the 27th of March at Unit 215 Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, followed by a UK tour.