Rat King

Rat King at The Hope Theatre, Islington, is a new production written and produced by Bram Davidovich for Kryptonite Theatre Company. Storytelling is at the heart of what they do, particularly by challenging preconceptions and bringing together issues that are often neglected or underestimated.

A gripping tale of pathos and soul-searching.

Family conflict, mental health, homelessness and love feature as the main strands in the play. It may not sound like the most fun combination, but the imaginative handling of these issues through the lives of two people makes for a gripping tale of pathos and soul-searching.

Kelly (Matilda Childs) is sixteen; a schoolgirl from a comfortable family background. The military background of her father gives him a disciplined, formal and practical approach to her upbringing. Her mother is more liberal and just wants what’s best for her daughter. Their conflicting approaches to her, combined with medicated mental health issues, prompt her to run away from home. She ends up in the wastelands of the Lea river valley where she encounters Jacko (Melker Nilsson), a homeless young man in fear of others who survives on dumpster diving but has found a disused crumbling building that he calls home. His father died when he was young. His mother remarried and Jacko found himself the victim of an abusive stepfather and so he left.

Childs opens the play with a bubbly introduction to Kelly’s life that exudes the confidence of a girl brought up in a middle class home. In a very different world Nilsson is first seen ranting against a wall on which Jacko is making a chalk sketch. When the two come together for the first time they create a deep air of hesitancy and mistrust. Their words are tentative, exploratory and finally questioning; and do they know how to effectively stretch a pause! They ultimately break down the barriers between them and find common ground. The air becomes lighter as the action turns to fun in looking at the stars and painting together.

Inevitably, it’s not all straightforward. Both actors carry-off the emotional and argumentative see-saw that Davidovich has created with passion and intensity, making their fears and vulnerability palpable as first one, then the other takes the upper hand. They also convey that beneath all the exchanges it is happiness, fulfillment and security that they really crave.

Will they find it? To know that is to know the ending and that will probably divide those who like things left hanging from those who like everything neatly sewn up. Either way, this team, under the incisive direction of Dan Phillips, has put together a powerful and rewarding piece of theatre.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Richard Beck

503 Theatre St

Foxes

★★★★★
Queen's Theatre Hornchurch

The Witchfinder’s Sister

★★
The Hope Theatre

Rat King

★★★★
Brockley Jack Theatre

The Idea

★★★
Young Vic Theatre

Hamlet

★★★
Finborough Theatre

How to Survive an Apocalypse

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Are homeless people also capable of sustaining loving relationships?What does it take to overcome our demons when faced with extreme adversity?Kelly, a schoolgirl from a comfortable family background suffers from mentalhealth issues that prompt her to run away from home. She meets Jacko, a homeless young man entrenched in the street life, and as they form an increasingly passionate bond, new pressures concerning their diverging futures start to fuel a conflict between them that will change both of their livesforever.

A new production by Kryptonite Theatre Company,

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets