Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Grasping for That Sink Feeling; Kes Lyric Hammersmith

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Grasping for That Sink Feeling; Kes Lyric Hammersmith

Article excerpt

Byline: FIONA MOUNTFORD

IT DIDN'T take Billy Elliot to tell us that it's grim up north, that dreams are hard won and easily shattered. Barry Hines got there way before, in 1968 to be precise, with his novel A Kestrel For A Knave, which was filmed as Kes by Ken Loach the following year.

This examination of one truculent, sink estate-bred teenager's doomed relationship with a kestrel he finds and trains himself groans under the weight of its own metaphors. Above all, it lays bare a very 1960s, Saturday Night And Sunday Morning culture of low expectation and even lower levels of opportunity.

It's here that this National Youth Theatre production, which uses Lawrence Till's 1999 adaptation, trips up, as the idea that the pits constitute this Billy's only career option isn't conveyed with sufficient vehemence.

One is loath to over-criticise these committed young actors, but a few more sessions with the dialect coach would not have gone amiss, as the accents are - literally - all over the place. …

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