BWW Review: APPROACHING EMPTY, Kiln Theatre
Greed can do terrible things to a person. The desire to constantly make money will inevitably lead to ethics being lost, friendships being tainted and mistakes being made. The themes of pain and mistrust are ever so evident in Ishy Din's new play, which sees a man with a dream risk it all to win big.
Mansha (Kammy Darwesh) has worked at the taxi frim ever since being laid off from his factory job. He sits at his desk, commanding the fleet and taking pride in what he does. It's a comfortable existence, with his day-to-day dealings being pretty much the same. But it all changes when he gets an idea in his head to buy out the business from his best mate Raf (Nicholas Khan).
What seems like a safe bet is revealed to be dangerous. And what could come across as mundane has been lifted dramatically by Din. His script is packed full of narrative, and despite it getting a tad carried away towards the end, it holds together well.
There's a lot of action demanding resolution and Pooja Ghai's direction brings it to life with a mixture of joy and sadness. There are some brilliant performances drawn out of the cast, with some of the more entertaining moments coming from Rina Fatania. She possesses a great energy on stage, cracking jokes and giving the space a much-needed spark.
With the entire action taking occurring in one specific place, Rosa Maggiora's set design is deliciously detailed. It looks like what you'd expect to see in a cab office, however there are some added quirks that make it special. A coffee machine is frequently used - with little money ever being deposited into it - and the lost property draw holds some fascinating objects.
All in all it's a well-rehearsed, well-delivered piece of performance. Despite the drama trajectory feeling predictable, the conflict does get a very real and visceral reaction from the audience. Din's play is an interesting insight into a profession we think we know so much about.
Photo credit: Helen Murray