Kray Kray at Theatre N16 review
Kray Kray is about the infamous Kray twins, Ronnie and Reggie, who book a swanky hotel room prior to meeting a famous Hollywood film producer who has shown an interest in making a movie about their lives. The first thing to mention about Kray Kray is Bryan Hodgson’s outstanding direction. He has a complete grasp on the time period in which the play is set, creating an atmosphere that is totally gripping, where creepy comedy moments merge exquisitely with the more sinister aspects the twins are famous for. Jimmy Barker as Ronnie Kray is superb at maintaining a sinister stare throughout, demonstrating in very clear terms Ronnie psychotic tendencies and borderline schizophrenia. As the tension between the twins build, it’s to Barker’s credit that his total immersion on the role is unquestionable. The two of them shine in their respective roles, especially when they deliver their solo speeches. Perry Meadowcroft, as the more levelheaded Reggie Kray, also brings a very distinct flair to the role.
This play does have a heart and soul to it as it also brings up the now well documented relationship the boys had with their mother, Violet, and the relationship that Reggie had with his wife, Francis Shea, who went on to take her own life. Ronnie taunts Reggie about this as a means to have control over him. Ronnie’s own homosexuality is also handled in the play and the fact that he admits to being bisexual gives an interesting aspect to the story. Kray Kray also brings to life East End traditions and the dialogue between the two actors happens to be very clever in places as it predicts the future with a spooky irony. This is gripping stuff with a wonderful hold on accurate storytelling and an intriguing examination of the human psyche. This is a must see and it ends on 29 April, so don’t miss it! Stephen Vowles