Socialist Worker

God's Property: A story of south London just after the 1982 riots

by Amanda Hassan
Issue No. 2343

The battered cassette recorder on top of the fridge and yellow Tupperware help to place new play God's Property in a Deptford council house in 1982.

There’s a backdrop of riots, ska beats and crippling unemployment.

Two brothers of Irish and Nigerian descent explore their identity and where they can fit in with the rough justice of their local community.

The older brother Chima, played by Kingsley Ben-Adir, has just been released from prison.

He goes home to find that his mother has recently left home and his brother Onochie, Ash Hunter, has chosen a white identity.

Writer Arinze Kene uses the cooking of Nigerian food to enable the brothers to explore their whiteness or blackness.

Onochie has fallen in love with Holly, brilliantly played by Ria Zmitrowicz.

She’s a proper skinhead, from her Doc Marten’s to her black fishnet stockings and her braces hanging over her “not that short” denim skirt.

Holly’s humour is much needed in the brothers’ life. I live in south London—I know this woman. But strangely she is the only female character we see.

The boys’ mother may have run away or she can’t live with herself any more.

We find out that she got her son to take the blame for an appalling crime that he didn’t commit. The question is would a mother ever ask her son to do that? And why would he agree? Why does he blame himself?

In an increasing crescendo of dogs barking outside the brothers must decide whether they will face the local rough justice together, alone or not at all.

God’s Property
Written by Arinze Kene
Directed by Michael Buffong
Soho Theatre, London, until 23 March,
26-28 March, mac birmingham,

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