Review: London Calling, The Lockdown Theatre Company

Parallels, provocations and pauses. London calling, from Lockdown Theatre Company, mixes now and then in this 17 minute monologue explaining the similarities between the 2020 covid-19 pandemic and the blitz of 1940. Whether you agree with this comparison or not, the work highlights the unshakable spirit of Londoners, their resilience and love for their city and community. 

Directed and written by Rohan Candappa and performed by Guy Hughes, the piece is somewhat poetic and engaging in parts, but sadly repetitive and slow in others. This is not aided by the plethora of long pauses throughout the monologue, which causes the audience to disengage and become a little disinterested. Furthermore, during the monologue Hughes is fairly unanimated and monotone, once again not helping the cause of what could be a passionate, patriotic yet political performance. 

However, these issues aside, there are some highlights.  My personal favourite being the music which concludes the performance, a mix of 1940’s lyrics written in the Blitz, but unheard until now, put to music composed today. This is the perfect fusion of the old and new in a piece centred around bringing the political comparison to a head. Skilfully sang and accompanied by Hughs it really is a treat to listen to, but one that also makes you reflect on the traumas faced by the people of London in 1940s and those of us in London today. 

The piece is also highly political, highlighting government ministers, death tolls and policies from both ages. While this can be slightly on the nose, the fact giving is engaging as we are drawn into the comparison of the two Londons, that of 1940 and today. The political nature of the piece reflects the growing anger and concern of the people of Britain today over how Covid-19 has been handled, the state of the arts and as we’ve seen through recent protest in the capital, the environment. While I’m not convinced about the rife comparison of political protest of today with similar action in 1940, this is one of the most convincing sections of performance as well as the most thought provoking.

While London and it’s communities have changed, grown and developed since the Blitz, just as its landscape has, London Calling seeks to highlight the resilient, cheeky and caring community spirit that sets London apart. The keep calm and carry on and look sharp and go get ‘em attitude that defines the city. Regardless of some performance issues and repetition, I do believe this comes across, and whether you believe the comparison is right or not, you finish the production feeling proud of our communities, our resilience and our spirit. 

London Calling is available to watch on YouTube here.