Pulsating thriller

York Evening Press on Dirty Kissing

Dirty Kissing takes its name from Box Clever playwright and artistic director Michael Wicherek observing a reaction to an interracial kiss.  “Dirty” was the exclamation.

Wicherek’s play, the London company’s first show to visit York earlier this week under the Urban Mischief Project, would have induced a similar response from those yet to come to terms with Britain’s migrant influx.

Dover is the dangerous crossroads for the interconnecting story of six people thrown together on the English coast, where we never see blue skies over white cliffs. Instead, nocturnal activities rule as small-scale crime focuses on drug-running and immigration scams.

Even the show’s pace-setter, DJ Virgil Howe, pulls his trilby down low as he mixes the soundtrack of dance rhythms and psychologically disorientating ticking clocks, while choreography by movement director Georgina Lamb has a taught, claustrophobic urgency.

Everyone wants more than they have, not a big leap across no man’s land, but no move can be made without impacting on someone else.  Apples, never the most innocent of fruits, take on the symbolic role as drugs as teenager Abi (the outstanding Elizabeth Cadwallander) and her junkie Dad (Sean Kearney) rub up against Pakistani Mr Big, Shaz (Brad Damon), would-be new emperor Scott (Patrick Molyneaux) and two new migrants, vengeful Ion (Emanuel Brierley) and quiet Aran (Stephenjohn Holgate).

Wicherek pleads optimism at the finale but the price is bloody in a pulsating thriller directed by Iqbal Khan with a harder punch than Marcus Romer’s teenage social dramas for Pilot Theatre.

Charles Hutchinson