It’s 2020. Since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, dodgy politics, austerity and civil unrest have left the streets of London in turmoil. A new coalition between the Conservatives and UKIP has driven house prices to an all-time high. Two local rappers (Dr Green Fingers & Dustin Roads) find themselves in the last ‘affordable’ housing block in London. They have to work two jobs to make ends meet, options are thin, and as they flirt with the idea of leaving their home, sparking revolution or a life of crime, they can’t help but dissect the politics that have surrounded them the past 10 years.
A Grime concept concert that brings the truth from ground level. Expect MP rap battles, tactics for revolution and a dealer’s guide to inflation. Merryville is an honest account of what it means to live as a born and bred Londoner when the housing crisis, inflation and dirty politics continue to force us out of our city.
Interview with Dominic Garfield, co writer and performer in Merryville.
This is the first grime theatre production I have come across, how did you come up with the concept?
Grime + Theatre + Politics = Merryville
Last year we made a show called Penny Lane which was a ‘Hip Hopera’ at The Yard in Hackney. The whole show was rapped and set to Hip Hop beats with a live DJ. The set up saw the audience welcomed into a live murder trial and 2 brothers on trial for the murder of their shared lover. Tasty. The show was a great success so we knew our next piece of work had to be a banger! We knew what we wanted to talk about; The fact London has changed so much its hard to feel welcome anywhere. Where has community gone? who are these doughnuts running the country? and whats in store for us over the next 4 years? ‘Lets set it in 2020!’ So it began… We knew we wanted to try the grime musical but didn’t have the opportunity in the past, so started to write some stuff and see if it worked with this concept. It really did and after performing 20 minutes of the production in Camden in January, we knew it was a go and we had to write a full length piece.
When can we see the first viewing of Merryville?
SOON! Merryville runs from 1-5th November at Camden People’s Theatre
We are also offering free tickets to 14-19’s at Spotlight (Langdon Park E14) on Friday 28th October, where we will be performing a special advanced preview of the show. To reserve tickets people can call 020 3011 1333.
Why do you think Instagrime audiences would enjoy the show?
For a start the whole thing is in grime. No cutting corners and with original instrums from the likes of Row.D Beats. The ‘Merryville’ audience can expect an hour filled with raucous energy, tricky lyricism and high levels of jokes. We have a couple of MP rap battles where we have turned policies from politicians like Sadiq Kahn and Theresa May into hard war bars, fit for a sound clash you and i might be more familiar with. On top of that it is a chance to break down some of the politics we have seen over the past few years in a relevant, engaging way, whilst cracking joke at the same time. Something different for the theatre and for the grime fan.
Do you think grime theatre will become a new trend?
Why the hell not. We hope the productions we make which all include an element of London street culture and music can blow the doors open to more young artists, both from the grime scene and the theatre world to help express themselves in more unconventional ways. If you look at any sub culture in Britain over the years that has become popular, you can find it all in the theatre now. Rock? theres plenty of big musicals on the west end. Ska? Madness have a musical. Hip Hop? Also doing the rounds in many forms in the theatre, from Kate Tempest to Zoo Nation, In The Heights and Hamilton (Look it all up. Its dope). Im sure grime will find its way into the theatre thick and fast and we are buzzing to be introducing the work to new audiences.