Explosive from start to finish,
In the midst of all the pretence and artifice the fringe has to offer, E15 is a fire bolt of hard hitting reality. It is an hour of electrifying theatre.
The characters are immediately loveable and the statistics immediately startling: in London, one in twenty-five children are homeless. The problem is so agonising because it is so unnecessary: there may be a staggering amount of homeless people in London, but there are even more unoccupied flats. They tell us these facts through lyrical dialogue and occasional beat boxing, lending the play all the fervour and rhythm of a poetry slam. E15 is edifying and entertaining, humbling and provocative.
One standout performance came from Dani Phillips. It’s rare to see such exuberant, firecracker energy so masterfully controlled, and she performs with such authenticity that it’s difficult to believe that she is not actually Jasmin – council house evictee, leader of the campaign and mother of little Saffi. Bianca Stephens is also remarkable as the disarmingly sweet but admirably courageous Sopriya, a Nigerian refugee. Her careful portrayal of human vulnerability casts a harsh light on a government that denies people the safety they came here to seek.
The quality of individual performances is matched by that of the ensemble work. The cast are united by two things: they all visibly love performing and they are all clearly passionate about their cause.
FYSA want us to know that the neglect of the poorer members of our society is a problem that persists. Unlike many other verbatim plays that register big issues but don’t really know what to do with them, E15 confronts the housing crisis head on. It is a testimony to the power of the arts and a reminder that social change is possible. In the midst of all the pretence and artifice the fringe has to offer, E15 is a fire bolt of hard hitting reality. It is an hour of electrifying theatre.