Crooks 1926


William IV (venue)

14 February 2020 (released)

14 February 2020

At the wake of the local Don, a sharply dressed stranger appears. “You owe me,” says the man who introduces himself as Sabini, leader of a rival family. “£10,000. I’ll collect it at dawn tomorrow.”

And you’re off, creating your own story out of the ensuing events. How to raise £10,000 overnight? Perhaps put together a job. We choose to follow Alice Diamond, addict, fortune teller and thief who runs her girls through the local strip club. After a card reading, we are passed instructions to obtain the services of locksmiths, drivers and girls to distract the guards. The cost of all of them must be negotiated, but drop certain names or trade a code and this might get easier.

Later we attempt to nobble a horse race and witness a bare knuckle fight. There is an impromptu wedding, and a spy is revealed. There are so many threads to the story, so many opportunities to pursue it is easy to overlook the objective. I’ve never been to such a detailed and intricate immersion, and the skilled management of the COLAB cast to keep the whole thing on track is a wonder. The detailed props and sets, as well as the site specific setting in a disused pub, give the production a lively veracity. The bar remains open all night, and there are regular pauses for refreshment at which you might even chat to someone who passes on more information.

Crooks 1926 is a great evening out, and heartily recommended.

Until 29 March at William IV, 16 Harper Road SE1 6AD

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