Leave To Remain

A trip to Hammersmith for this one, a theatre I’d never been to, The Lyric. When I set off on my journey from Essex it seems a long way away, but with 2 lines heading straight to Hammersmith from Liverpool Street, the journey was a smooth one, an opportunity to read one of my Christmas presents, Over and Out, a book about Henry Blofeld. It gave me the odd laugh on the way. The theatre is a 2 minute walk from the station, based in a large, modern building, which clearly offers a lot to its community.

It was good to be able to sit and eat a snack before the performance started, in colourful surroundings. I had a good chat to a lady who’s also a keen theatre goer, which was good! I was surprised to find a theatre that looks much like the older theatres in the West End, I was expecting something more modern.

Leave To Remain was written by Matt Jones and Kele Okereke, who’s part of the group Bloc Party, he combined his musical career with studying English Literature at University. This was a first for Okereke, I hope it’s not his last.

I was blown away by this production – an explanation of the story from Kele Okereke and where he was coming from with the score

“‘Leave To Remain’ is the story of what happens when a marriage forces two very different families to come together. For the music for this project I took cues from the records that my parents would play in our house when I was growing up, West African high-life music, and I tried to combine those sounds with the electronic dance music I hear in clubs today. It was important to me to make something that represented the meeting of two very different worlds.”

The tale is a love story between the 2 main characters, Alex and Obi, but it’s so much more than that, it shows the cultural challenges faced by some in a gay relationship. The story is told through movement, song and dialogue. Movement is a better word to describe what was performed rather than dance, the relationship between the 2 men is portrayed powerfully by that movement, it was stunning.

Alex is played by Billy Cullum and Obi by Tyrone Huntley alongside a great cast. It was interesting to see a guitarist on the stage, he was superb too! Together with wonderful singing, there was humour as well as pain, I had tears in my eyes by the end of the play. I’ll be downloading the album when it becomes available on January 26th. This one comes with a highly recommended from me!

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