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Rumble!

by on 5 December 2021

David versus Goliath

Rumble!

by Yasir Senna

Razor Sharp Productions at the Drayton Arms Theatre, South Kensington until 4th December 

Review by Heather Moulson

Now, I have become very familiar with bijou pub theatres, but this venue really is a delight.  On a deceptively large stage for its intimate surroundings, Rumble!, written and directed by Yasir Senna, opens up to what could be misconstrued as a dry, corporate piece.   However, this is soon thoroughly disproved. 

Set in 2009, at a construction firm called Deveraux, Alisha faces the boardroom, and three very hostile directors, after being overshadowed by her boorish manager.  The atmosphere is one of doom for Alisha, with written warnings and poor reports, until with concise wit and cunning, she reveals a clever unbricking of a corporate wall.   

With a play on a David and Goliath concept, we are taken on the very edge of Alisha being pressured to resign, and being cast out of favour for a younger attractive woman, despite working thankless hours for this company. 

A good paced plot against red-blooded power, but there was a whiff of overkill, mainly stereotypes such as the ‘lunchtime o’booze’ director, plus the aggressive director, the sexist dim manager, with a ‘dolly bird’ culture.  The other director resembles a poet; not to mention the ‘dumb blonde’, Lydia (Roselle Hirst).   I did however, change my view in the interval when I heard members of the audience exclaim that that would not have happened a mere twelve years ago, but possibly the eighties and early nineties.  I silently disagreed, it’s quite feasible this kind of corporate bullying still goes on.   

So in the second half, Alisha continues her dangerous game, taking us with her.   The climax being Mr Deveraux himself entering the room.  This part had to be covered by Lucien Morgan and not Martin Balanow as advertised, but as much as I want to make allowances for last minute role covers, his entrance and delivery was a let-down.  I felt this made Claire Monique Martin in the role of Alisha work even harder on her powerfully delivered performance.     

105 minutes of wonderful theatre and performances, Rumble! is a very well written play that unravels a sense of danger and resets a power balance.   A charismatic leading role by Claire Monique Martin, and Richard Houghton-Evans as Peter the manager who came over with greed and pathos.   I really hope to see more performances from these two. 

In fact, all the cast were very strong, and the direction by Senna was sharp and intense.  The lighting designed by Leo Bacica kept it atmospheric.   According to programme notes, Yasir Senna is working on another script – make it soon, please.   

Heather Moulson, December 2021

Photography courtesy of Razor Sharp Productions

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