Steven Berkoff's EAST
Design Kinsmen Collective
2018 King's Head Theatre, London
At the start of 2018, Atticist staged a new production of Steven Berkoff’s startling and influential masterpiece at the King’s Head Theatre, where EAST made its London debut in 1975. This was the first time the play had been resurrected in its original London home.
Tell how it chanced that we sworn mates were once the deadly poison of each other’s eye...
Assaultive, riotously funny, and entirely unapologetic, EAST catapults us into the youth of Mike and Les and Sylv - living at full throttle while Mum and Dad fantasise about the lives they lived (or wish they had). The twists and turns of EAST's profane verse plunge into interior worlds that are absurd, overwhelming - and captivating. Five characters and a pianist lure us in with tall-tales, lust, and bravado.
'There is no holding back or reserve in the East End of youth as I remember...you lived for the moment and vitally held it' (Steven Berkoff)
SYLV Boadicea Ricketts
MUM Debra Penny
LES Jack Condon
MIKE James Craze
DAD Russell Barnett
and Carol Arnopp on piano
Director Jessica Lazar
Movement Director Yvan Karlsson
Music Director Carol Arnopp
Assistant Director Siobhan James-Elliott (King's Head Theatre Trainee Director)
Stage Manager Timothy Kelly
Set & Costume Design Anna Lewis
Lighting Design David Doyle
Additional Sound Design Odinn Orn Hilmarsson
Producers Bridie Bischoff and Tom Ford
Assistant Producer Amy George
Publicist Chloé Nelkin Consulting
Atticist's EAST was nominated for 5 Off West End Awards / OFFIES 2018/18 (Best Director, Best Movement Director, Best Ensemble, Best Lighting Design, and Best Female in a Play), and received 9 ★★★★★ and 19 ★★★★ reviews, including:
★★★★ The Stage: ‘Berkoff’s play remains a remarkable work … And Berkoff being Berkoff, it’s all realised in a riotous, rollicking whirlwind of hybridised Shakespeare and slang. Cusses and classical references gleefully rub shoulders throughout. Jessica Lazar’s inventive production is no less remarkable. Her five-strong cast wriggle and writhe, spit and snarl their way across the intimate, sparse space like grotesque marionettes, all to a cheery Cockney piano accompaniment.’.
★★★★★ The Londonist: ‘EastEnders Meets Clockwork Orange... In Islington’
★★★★★ Broadway World: ‘Above everything else, watching this I felt repulsed, humoured, excited, but more importantly, overjoyed that such a crazy and unpredictable machine is allowed to be on stage. If you want a night that consists of chaotic debauchery, copious amounts of 'what the fuck' moments, and to feel so much laughter your stomach hurts after it, then EAST is the show to see.’
★★★★★ Everything Theatre: ‘a frenzied and enlightened mix of physicality and verbal zest. …The text, whilst brilliant, is not the absolute highlight of this show. The physical performance from all the cast…is startlingly vibrant.’
British Theatre Guide (unrated): ‘This is like crossing Auden and Isherwood with Edward Bond, an Eastenders staged by Frantic Assembly. No it’s not. It’s Berkoff with a fine cast and an understanding director and you should see it.’