Belgrade B2 review: Holding the Centre
Holding the Centre, Belgrade B2, to Sept 7. Written by Birmingham-based Joan Carty and produced by Leon Phillips, Holding The Centre follows the life of Micaiah from his privileged middle class and cossetted childhood, professional parents and “good schools” to the streets, gang culture and shootings. It explores themes such as implicit bias, stereotyping, violence and deception. A powerful performance from Jordan Leigh as Micaiah keeps the audience spellbound. He swaggers arrogantly across the stage. He cannot be touched. He never actually gets his hands dirty – but is always able to “arrange another intervention”.
The rich dialogue between Macaiah and his mate Marcus, played enthusiastically by Jordan Laidely, at times borders on comedy. But when Marcus is shot and his sister is attacked Micaiah starts to question what he has begun and who he actually is. Deborah Tracey gives a strong performance as Micaiah's aunt, failing to get her sister and mother to recognise that their son and grandson has started to move into very murky waters. The dialogue is clever and thought-provoking and the message is powerful, but the story gets over complicated, diluting its impact as it becomes something of a struggle to keep up with the plot.
Holding the Centre was developed as part of the Belgrade's Critical Mass Programme which aims to build links with black and minority ethnic groups and provide a voice for writers from the local community, and Joan Carty came to playwriting after 20 years of working with socially excluded communities.
For tickets to go: http://www.belgrade.co.uk/