By Elin Alexander, First Year Social Policy and Politics
Pipeline Theatre's Drip Drip Drip is a truly moving piece that explores the everyday hardships immigrants face not only trying to reach Britain but also once established as British citizens.
The play was performed with elements of physical theatre as well as Brechtian techniques which broke up scenes nicely and added a lot of humour. The audience are thrown straight into the action from the beginning with the introduction of three separate storylines: two brothers from Eritrea seeking refuge in Britain, a Muslim doctor and a white elderly ex-professor who is a patient at the hospital where the performance is set.
Michael Workeye’s portrayal of the elder brother was truly heart-warming. His innocent and happy-go-lucky energy brought a wholesome feel to the piece as he emphasises his characters gratitude to have reached, and be working in, Britain. However, his love for his brother was also displayed by the sadness and anger Workeye showed while recalling his laborious journey to Britain. His light-hearted interactions with Girum Bekele’s character over their mutual knowledge of Stormzy lyrics made for a heart-breaking final encounter. Berkele’s acrobatic skills and haunting voice was also a nice touch, one of my favourite moments was when he became a toilet paper dispenser. Despite the brothers chatter in Amharic being a lovely addition, on occasion the subtitles were concealed by the position of the actors so I did miss some content.
Lydia Bakelmun’s portrayal of a Muslim doctor having to deal with racism at work and racist attacks on her children made for a very interesting contrast with the rest of the cast. The show’s script is naturally very funny, however Bakelmun’s dry humour and severity really demonstrated the attitude of many doctors I’ve experienced in the past. I thought Bakelmun and Alan Munden made for a great team as Munden’s flirtatious comedy and casual racism made Bakelmun’s sarcastic responses even funnier.
Finally, David Keller’s performance was a force to be reckoned with. He took the audience on an emotional journey and left us not knowing whether to feel sorry for his character or to feel angry with him. Was this lonely, elderly man simply showing the attitudes of his time or was there a hatred that went deeper than that? His interactions with both Bakelmun and Workeye had us confused over what he truly thought, and as his mind started to deteriorate and Keller got a little wilder with his emotions, we couldn’t help but feel despair for this once lovable character.
Jon Welch’s play was a mixture of humour and love while exploring the challenging issues of racism and identity. The staging was perfectly rehearsed and the physical theatre and Brechtian elements broke up the scenes whilst also maintaining high energy levels throughout. Drip Drip Drip is a very good play with an excellent cast and I’m excited to see what Pipeline Theatre will offer next.
Featured Image: The Wardrobe Theatre
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