Review: Dwindle, Peak and Pine is the brilliant political drama on Strand Campus this weekend
There are two remaining performances, Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th and tickets are available on KCLSU- don’t miss out!
Strand’s Macadam Building is largely uncharted territory for me, and I have to admit I got lost on the way to see Dwindle, Peak and Pine. In fact, I spent 15 mins wandering around the labyrinth of Philosophy Building before I finally made it…
It was totally worth it; the whole production was absolutely phenomenal.
our student written show ‘Dwindle, Peak and Pine’ opens this weekend! tickets will be sold on the door so be sure to bring cash, you won’t want to miss it!
Posted by The King's Players on Monday, 2 March 2020
Written by KCL English Student Rabia Kapoor, Dwindle, Peak and Pine is a hyperstylised blend of hypnotic aesthetics and sharp social commentary which sinks its teeth into wholly gratifying satire of gender and individual agency. More broadly, the production infuses itself with the legacy of the witches of Macbeth in order to cast its gaze towards the political climate of modern India.
The plot follows the waxing and waning fates of four female protagonists as they negotiate their relationship with power. Furiously idealistic Ilta has been thrown into prison for some unnamed deviance, where she meets the captivating Shabana, a woman of quiet strength and infinite humour in the face of terror.
Intersecting with this narrative is the tale of Ilta’s ally on the outside, Koko, the dazzling and flawed leader of a witchy political resistance in the process of training up promising new recruit Chandni.
As such, the play is dominated by a feeling of oscillation, the audience ricocheted between narratives which double, overlap, split and spill. In fact, perhaps one of the aspects of the play which most impressed me was its refusal to let its audience sit comfortably as spectators.
Koko reads the palm of an audience member. She and Chandni hand out beers to us when they drink. Characters talk directly to spectators, turning the gaze back upon the voyeurs to these scenes of pain and violence.
In one striking scene, Chandni finds herself cornered by a police officer, and desperately calls on a member of the audience to come to her defence. Our silence becomes our betrayal. We are repeatedly confronted by the pointed finger which accuses us of complicity in systems which suckle on the blood of those who lie beneath.
Still, these moments of condemnation are intertwined with moments of comedy. I often found myself laughing aloud at comments made by Shabana, at conversations between Chandni and others. There is a suitably meta flavour to the play. I loved a scene where a terrifyingly mechanical news anchor recites the stock phrases of propaganda which eventually devolve into “Blah blah blah blah blah” until someone turns the television off.
I would be amiss if I did not also comment upon the play’s slick production. The sound, lighting and staging were all incredibly creative and riddled with symbolism. The audience are posititioned in such a way that the stage is a cross shape, the music in equal parts haunting and mesmerising.
Ultimately, I really cannot recommend this play highly enough. The cast and crew are full of astounding talent, the writing is absolutely of a professional quality. There are two remaining performances, Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th and tickets are available on KCLSU- don’t miss out!
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