Death of England: Delroy

A throwback from the archives — going to see Death of England: Delroy at the National Theatre, London (aka online streaming) as UK Lockdowns eased somewhat…in November 2020…

So, so glad I got to see this — even for one night only….Roy Williams and Clint Dyer, you have made me cry again. I unexpectedly loved Death of England — there was so much in there. This is a different work — much more rage and injustice; harder to connect with because there is so much rage. But the rage is necessary and needed; perhaps the fact that I struggled to connect with the story and need to go away and reflect says something about me. I’ve watched it twice and still feel I need a few more watches to really get it.

Uniquely a brown working class man has a voice; uniquely we are hearing the voice of a brown working class man on stage; we are hearing an emotionally nuanced and articulate working class brown man on stage. So many stereotypes are stomped on — he is eloquent; emotionally expressive; in a relationship; a panicked first-time father; full-time employed; self-made; British; proud; a voter; a respecter of his mother and yet his life goes badly wrong with a wrongly made stop and search, with echoes to the horrific murder of George Floyd. It’s painful to see his viewpoint, his experiences of injustices. It’s painful and troubling to hear his rejection of all British culture, of not feeling British, although he clearly is. It’s intriguing how the socially distanced audience become the jury in the dock for part of the play…

And yet, there are choices to be made — he is a new father; he still has a contribution to make and his family need his contributions; there is still love which cannot be denied or ignored; there is passion. Less obviously hopeful and redemptive, sadly contrasting faith and facts (can’t it be both?) There is hope and there is redemption, as another stereotype of the black father is stomped upon. There is an such an elegy within the play to the harsh injustice still going on for the Windrush generation; there is an elegy to proud, hard working, mighty black and brown mothers everywhere; there is an elegy celebrating black and brown fathers and their daughters. As with genetics, the history and the relationships are complex, but there is still love and new life within all the injustice and affliction; there is overcoming.

There is some cracking humour in Delroy getting ready for his Zoom call and the Zoom call going wrong; overall such a vigorous, compelling, engaging performance through a vast array of emotions from Michael Balogun.



Cultures: Arts Reviews and Views by Susan Tailby

By Susan Tailby. Appreciator of arts and culture; things I've seen and enjoyed and you might too! Reviews all my own opinion....Theatre, Movies, Dance & Art!