The Vaults (Pit) Leake Street
London is a place of contrasts as the wealthy continue to nudge out older communities.
Rhubarb Ghetto is set in a bleak London underpass between social housing and the newer homes of the rich. Billy (Damian Lynch), in his black raincoat, paces the performance space, waiting for someone, something. The arrival of Scarlett (Izabella Urbanowicz), the mother of his son Alfie, with a black bag he has requested, prompts a conversation about their life and his reckless drug-dealing. She wants him to be a better father and cut out the risky lifestyle.
Billy, weary and unsure about his future, has decided he must leave the area to avoid the danger of the rival gang member Pavel. He describes the place they live as a “tower block overlooking a bunch of middle-class arseholes growing rhubarb by the DLR.”
When he adds that “people like us get forgotten, don’t matter”, Scarlet angrily replies “its a long time since you’ve been people like us.”
The play is sombre, the dialogue fast, the actors performance fluent and assured, but the story unfortunately feels flat, lacks dramatic tension and is too narrowly focused on a conversation centred on the fallout from Billy’s drug-dealing.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna