Every now and then, you need a reminder of how and why Shakespeare is still relevant. Enter Guilt Trip, which does exactly that and then some. Intermission Youth Theatre’s loose adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing is now playing at St Saviour’s Church – something it would be easy to forget if Jasz Brown didn’t repeatedly yell, “this is a church!” It’s rare that a show is so impressive that you worry about how you can possibly write a just review, but I’ll give it a go.
For Guilt Trip, Messina is your standard boozy holiday destination; think Malia, Ibiza or even Love Island. Shakespeare’s metre and rhythm is still there, it might not be precise iambic pentameter and the Elizabethan slang is injected with some 2018 updates, but it’s unmistakably Shakespeare, just with Snapchat and emojis. It’s all very lads on tour as two friendship groups realise they’re staying in the same hotel, where the games begin.
Written and directed by the group’s mentor Darren Raymond, Guilt Trip is a riot. It has a huge cast bursting with talent, with too many standout performances to name them all. Highlights include hysterical deadpan comedy from Danielle Adegoke, perfect farce from Ibrahim Konate, spine-tingling drama from Donnavan Yates and Sherkhan McKenzie-Riley and exceptional character development from the play’s Beatrice and Benedick, Andreia Chipa and Jermaine Adeniregun. Shakespeare’s themes are of course updated for a 2018 audience, with gender, sex and victim blaming all bubbling up in the second half, especially in a particularly poignant scene between Chipa and Yates.
Technically it’s good too. The costumes, set and music all help make this show a success. And it’s never predictable, you’re welcomed to the theatre by Dizzy Rascal and transitions feature the likes of KRS-One, but don’t be surprised when Claudio (Iain Gordon) breaks into a bit of Bette Midler.
If you’re lucky, there will be a TalkBack at the end of the show where you get to learn a little more about Intermission Youth Theatre and hear this astounding cast talk about the play’s development. The theatre group offers vital support and opportunity to at risk and disadvantaged young people. Adeniregun pays credit to the group by saying, “if I wasn’t here, I don’t know what I’d be doing.” Not only is Guilt Trip one of the funniest shows I’ve seen this year but also more importantly, it demonstrates exactly what youth theatre is about.
Guilt Trip is playing St Saviour’s Church until 24 November 2018. For more information and tickets, click here.