Skip to main content

Review of Flash Festival 2019: The Cost Of Freedom by Grapevine Theatre Company at Castle Hill URC

Grapevine Theatre Company's rather spectacular opening to their production The Cost Of Freedom rather sets the scene for potentially one of the best Flash Festival productions ever. A stirring piece of physical theatre, high in risk at times, and performed under a sustained period of strobe lighting.

What is happening during this sequence is that the white man (a harrowingly performed, uncredited appearance) is pursuing the six characters of the play, in an attempt to capture them to make slaves of them. We are in 1853, in America, a time when slavery is still dominant. A barbaric and cruel time and The Cost of Freedom tells its story in a harrowing, but an immensely watchable way.

The Cost Of Freedom contains perhaps the actor with the greatest stage presence of this year group, that of Michael Gukas, here as Noah, the effective leader of the group, he is at his best. The perfect demonstration of raising your voice, without raising your voice. The best actors can say the power of words without the need to increase volume, and here Gukas proves that he will, without any shadow of doubt become a stage performer of regard in the future.

However, this production is, without doubt, a team game and the rest of the cast are superb creating their collection of characters. The young Zeke played by Kieran James is the warm character of innocence that you love because of his awkwardness. His moments of attempting to talk to his wannabe girl are sweetly delightful.

Sisters Jo and Jess are played with a lovely connected style by Sarah Awojobi and Lyric Impraim, so supportive of one another, combined they pack an emotional punch as events get worse.


D'angelo Mitchell is superb as Cato, forced into terrible decisions, and showing every trauma upon his face. The moments during the fireside song are particularly well played. Finally, Nigel played by Nafetalai Tuifua is perhaps the character tasked with the greatest change to his life, with small shades of the character within the movie Green Book, but in a very different time. Tuifua brings a nice poise to his character which you cannot help but feel for.

The Cost of Freedom is simply superb, powerful drama, crisp and extremely solid accents, and some stunning physical theatre. At all times stunningly and believably performed, it is without a doubt one of the best. Powerful stuff!

Performance viewed: Thursday 4th April 2019

The Flash Festival 2019 ran until Sunday 7th April 2019 at venues across the town.
Details here: 
Flash Festival 2019

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Market Boy by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

I have now written a little over two hundred and fifty reviews on this blog (yes I know, amazing. I am sorry). Most shows I have enjoyed, many I have given four star reviews, a good number have also got that lofty five stars from me. There is however hiding among them five star reviews, another tier of brilliance. One that lies in my head, where everything comes together to go beyond that five, but where I have nothing left to give. The play, the performances, the staging, and perhaps even more to elevate what is a personal opinion as a review, an actual personal emotional feeling or connection towards the piece.
Market Boy written by David Eldridge and performed by the Royal & Derngate Actors Company will (spoiler intended) receive five stars from me at the end of this review. However as that first paragraph suggests, this was one of those that went a little further for me. Set in what I happily claim as my decade and featuring throughout the music of that decade, which I claim …

Review of Benidorm Live at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes

I arrived at Milton Keynes Theatre to see this touring stage version of ITV comedy hit Benidorm with a distinct lack of knowledge. Having never seen the show, my information stretched as far as knowing it was set in a holiday resort in Spain (the title helps there), and that the humour generally resorted to the cruder end of the spectrum. However, having graced the screens for ten years, it was clear that Derren Litten's show had garnered quite a following, and indeed it was clear from the reception of the audience on the night, that this following was pretty much filling the theatre.

The plot, such as it is for this stage show, is very much drafted from an episode of Fawlty Towers, and made a great deal more adult with its humour. The hotel manager, Joyce Temple-Savage (a sharp performance by Sherrie Hewson) gets wind that a hotel inspector is in, and the scene is set for seeking them out and all the obvious cases of mistaken identity. It's thin and doesn't fill the show,…

Review of Hacktivists by Ben Ockrent performed by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

The National Theatres Connections series of plays had been one of my highlights of my trips to R&D during 2014. Their short and snappy single act style kept them all interesting and never overstaying their welcome. So I was more than ready for my first encounter with one of this years Connections plays ahead of the main week of performances at R&D later in the year.

Hacktivists is written by Ben Ockrent, whose slightly wacky but socially relevant play Breeders I had seen at St James Theatre last year. Hacktivists is less surreal, but does have a fair selection of what some people would call odd. Myself of the other hand would very much be home with them. So we are presented with thirteen nerdy "friends" who meet to hack, very much in what is termed the white hat variety. This being for good, as we join them they appear to have done very little more than hacked and created some LED light device.

Crashing in to spoil the party however comes Beth (Emma-Ann Cranston) and…