This is play that discusses the complexities of brotherhood inside a non-traditional family with a racial mix. This is an area that is incredibly close to my own heart as it reflects – closely though not completely – my own family. However, it also touches on so much more, packing class politics and a dissection of the concept of privilege into its short running time.
Meet Harry and Roger – two young men who long ago decided to be brothers when they pitched up to the same care home on the same day. Their bond runs as deep as the childhood memories and rituals they delight in reliving together. Though as they both continue to examine their place in the world – or their lack thereof – it appears that even these shared memories aren’t as they seem.
Human Nature is fast-paced – particularly in the second half, while the first half took time to establish itself and the characters. This meant that the switch from their childhood reminiscence and joshing felt a little clunky as a gear change. Though both halves were interesting and well written, the transition between the two was a little jarring.
So too, sometimes, was the presence of Composer and DJ Sarl on stage. I veered wildly between liking and disliking this conceit and still don’t know quite where I stand. This sense was complicated by the other characters sometimes interacting with her and sometimes not. There was no sense that she was supposed to be ‘in the room’ but the choices about when to and not to interact seemed random and as such pulled me out of the principal relationship between the two main characters.
The two leads were good actors, with Justice Ritchie in particular as Roger superb. That neither of them particularly looked young enough to play a 17 & 18-year-old mattered less than their ability to truly embody the young men – boys really – they were exploring.
Human Nurture asks important questions well. It will be an important taking-off point for discussions of the importance of dialogue and questioning around movements like BLM when it goes on to tour schools. There were moments of real sparkling wit and empathy that I found inspiring and revealing. There is so much to unpack about the ways we treat each other and the concept of privilege in class, race, and upbringing here and so much still to be thought about.
- Written by: Ryan Calais Cameron
- Directed by: Rob Watt
- Photographer: Chris Saunders
- Starring: Justice Ritchie, Lucas Button & Neeta Sarl
- Soho Theatre
- Start time: 7.15pm Running time: 60 minutes
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