Six passengers travel on the tube from Stratford to Ealing Broadway. One is an objectophile, one is a drunk, one is the runner up in the 2014 Irish beatboxing championships. A confusing mix of people that forms a perfect metaphor for
Mind The Gap does the bare minimum it needs to get by and the experience is an utterly forgettable one.
Ostensibly about the barriers that we erect in public, especially in London, and the transformation of public transport into a contact-free space, Mind The Gap is instead nothing more than a vehicle for co-writer Marika McKennell to showcase her spoken word talent, which is average at best and deeply derivative at worst. Other characters pop up occasionally: they add nothing of any note and you wish that they followed the silent rules of the underground and kept their mouths shut. That we should feel like this is deeply regrettable given that one of the show’s purposes is to inject human contact back into commuting, but it’s inevitable when the characters are as annoying and unlikeable as these. We don’t care about their relationships in spite of the try-hard ‘dramatic’ dialogue and the overall result is a show that ends up being about absolutely nothing. Appropriately then, there is nothing especially good or bad about the acting: everyone remembers their lines and says them in the right place. Beyond this, there is no characterisation of any depth and one wonders what exactly the directors have been doing. At each station (and there are a lot on the central line’s route) a voiceover tries in vain to make us laugh but the bad puns aren’t fooling anyone.
What makes Mind The Gap all the more tragic is the utter waste of its headline star, the undeniably talented beatboxer Cull. His vocal dexterity when underscoring the poetry is a most welcome distraction; he really is very good and he singlehandedly saves the show from disaster. However, his talents can only save so much. Mind The Gap does the bare minimum it needs to get by and the experience is an utterly forgettable one. Time passes, words are spoken and then, after 55 long minutes, it stops.