Nisha Oza in association with Kings Head Theatre
King’s Head Theatre
James Corley’s gentle love story takes us to the late 1990s, where Ben (Tom Milligan) and his mother Viv (Patricia Potter) are moving into a tower block on the World's End estate in Chelsea.
Boxes are stacked outside the doors of their flat, so their neighbour Ylli (Nickolaos Brahimllari), a refugee from Kosova, offers to carry some and calls his son Besmik (Mirlind Bega) to help.
Ben and Besmik, both nineteen years old, immediately notice each other and, over the following months, grow closer as they chat and play the game Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Yet they seem quite different. Whereas Besmik seems charming, confident, dresses smart and goes to gay bars, Ben is a “worrier” who rarely goes out and panics just dropping off his CV at a school.
However, no sooner are they forming a relationship than change in their parents' lives poses difficult decisions for them. Viv agrees to move in with her boyfriend and wants Ben to move in with her. Ylli is enraged at Serbian attacks on Kosova and proposes he and Besmik leave the country to join the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Although the story is believable, even up to its sentimental ending, it relies for its interest on the dramatically light love story. Issues such as the war in Yugoslavia, the difficulties of Ben’s mother working nights as a care worker, the stress of tower block living and the prejudice against gay people all seem little more than undeveloped decoration to the love story. And that can make the ninety-minute running time seem much longer than it is.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna