We Review Noughts & Crosses At Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
Between Noughts and Crosses there are racial and social divides. A segregated society teeters on a volatile knife edge.
As violence breaks out, Sephy and Callum draw closer, but this is a romance that will lead them into terrible danger.
This gripping Romeo and Juliet story by acclaimed writer Malorie Blackman and adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz is a captivating story of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world. Our resident theatre lover Lilith Hosley-Sheppard went along to catch the show for herself.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Noughts & Crosses, as we took our seats and the set opens revealing an industrial three side rectangle, the cast in the middle. Red squares fill each side and something about it reminds me of the film V for vendetta.
The show itself turns the race war on its head, the Noughts have been the slaves to the crosses and schools are segregated. Sephy (Heather Agyepong) is a Cross and Callum (Billy Harris) is a Nought, neither should be mixing with the other, least of all Sephy, the daughter of the Home Secretary. As the two prepare for secondary school, high achieving Noughts are being allowed to attend the Crosses school but tensions flare and the two become divided, forced by their peers.
Image By: Robert Day
Each family gets deeper in to politics causing a strain on the friendship and soon, tragedy tears them apart even further as each chooses to follow very different paths.
There is almost an apocalyptic feel to Noughts & Crosses with a very minimal set that rages in red. The clever addition of more physical theatre allows the cast to move props around the stage changing the set from a school, to the respective homes and even a courtroom. The use of videos as live news report also add to the tension as a few screen pop up in the red walls throughout the show.
The cast are great with some playing multiple roles. Jasmine, Doreene Blackstock, is awesome as Sephy’s alcoholic mother as is Callum’s brother Jude, Jack Condon. Callum’s mother and father, Ryan, Daniel Copeland & Meggie, Lisa Howard the underdogs that refuse to never give up no matter the cost. Home Secretary Kamal, Chris Jack, has a pompousness fitting of any MP and sister Minerva, Kimisha Lewis, is the cocky and confident older sibling, or so you think.
In the world where we currently live filled with so much uncertainty & growing divides, Noughts & Crosses is a gritty show that really leaves you thinking. A great show to watch.
On at the Belgrade Theatre till Saturday 30th March.