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Elephant 21 at Theatre Local, Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre

Faye Stevenson

The Mayhem Company's new production, Elephant 21, is being performed in the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre.

The Royal Court's Theatre Local is an intimate performance space and an ideal setting for a play based around the area.

Elephant 21 is a story based on real peoples lives and experiences of living and working in Elephant & Castle.

Young people and members of the community were trained to become oral historians thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fun and they went out and interviewed 50 people from around the area.

These interviews were turned into the play based on the fictional family, the Valentines of 21 Victory Place.

The audience follows this family through four generations over the past 100 years experiencing the effects of two wars, illness and the regeneration of the area.

As the production moves through the generations it could potentially become it hard to follow as they grow older and consequently the actor changes but this aspect was staged cleverly so the audience is never unsure who is who.

Although the cast included a mix of professional and non professional actors it was hard to spot the difference as the whole company gave good, believable performances and worked well together.

Elephant 21 – an interesting story of love, growing old and history set in a location that is so familiar – is well worth a visit.

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