Tweetingit: 3* Parents and sons with dysfunctional relationships in a 90s time capsule. Patchy, but strong performances bring it home.
For any retrospective piece to work it has to clearly identify the period in question. World’s End doesn’t exactly scream the 90s but does lack the unique motif of the decade that preceded it. So whilst we are told it’s 1998 it could be any year from the recent past. It is only towards the end of this thoughtful play that memorable events kick in and we gain a true sense of time and place.
Single mum Viv (Patricia Potter) has moved to the World’s End Estate in Chelsea with introverted son Ben (Tom Milligan). Next door is single father Ylli (Nikolaos Brahimllari); security guard-cum-handyman and chilled out son Besnik (Milind Bega). Both parents have contrasting issues with their children; Viv struggles to communicate with Ben and is still coming to terms with the failure of her marraige. Ylli is a Kosovar refugee widowed shortly after he arrived in the UK. He clashes with Besnik as the Kosovo war rages at home. Ylli wants to go and fight with his fellow countrymen but his son just wants him to get on with his life. Disaffected sons slowly form a rapport via a shared passion for computer games. Their friendship takes a surprising turn and fate leads them to a place that changes their lives.
World’s End is well written with a degree of sensitivity adding depth to care torn characters. However, some sections of dialogue can be much stronger than others. For example, using Kosovo as a backdrop to dialogue between Ylli and Besnik adds natural drama. News reports provide a prelude to the more charged conversations between the pair; whilst the equivalent conversations between Viv and Ben seem mundane in comparison. This discrepancy in dialogue between paired characters occasionally weakened the flow of narrative. Having said that, an unexpected twist gives the play an edge it would not otherwise have had. Patricia Potter from Holby City and Tom Milligan of Harry Potter fame also give the play a vital boost in profile. Ultimately, the actors make the play work as they delivered hugely likeable performances.
Writer: James Corley
Director: Harry Mackrill
Producers: Nisha Oza in association with the King’s Head Theatre
Box Office: 0207 226 8561
Booking information can be found here
Booking Until: 21 September 2019