Matchstick Piehouse (venue)
09 March 2020 (released)
13 March 2020
A play set on a London night bus, a journey where two strangers share their stories and struggles whilst encountering an ensemble of interesting fellow passengers – N89 is a fun, original and heartwarming piece written by South East Londoner Mark Daniels and directed by Edwina Strobl.
It’s 1am on a Saturday morning, Kim (played by Grace Boyle), who is in her jeans and trainers, and Daniel (played by Ocean Harris), who wears pink chinos, are travelling on the upper deck of an N89. As the bus goes from Central to SE London through Trafalgar Square, Aldwych, Elephant and Castle, New Cross, Lewisham… they chat and share moments of interactions with other passengers – all with very distinctive characters and different backgrounds, yet all belong to the same incredibly diverse SE London community. Through the journey Kim and Dainel touch on topics such as class, race, diversity, gentrification, family… their relationship evolves from being two complete strangers who carry initial superficial assumptions on each other, to two people who share a spark of connection
after breaking the barriers and unloading some emotional baggage.
Apart from the main storyline and bittersweet relationship between Kim and Daniel, one of the most interesting elements of the play is how relatable the journey is for the audience – it feels like we have all been there on that bus, have sat next to that girl whose head is almost falling onto your shoulder, have been that guy who feels too embarrassed to move to another seat even though the drunken person next to you is getting way too close, have been tempted to tell the other guy his music is too loud and annoying everyone else on the bus.
Credits to the writer for the very delicately crafted characters and scenarios, to the director for the amazingly engaging pace, smooth blocking and execution, and to the cast with their fantastic performances – especially the ones who played multiple roles as they did incredibly well in very quickly getting in-character whilst switching roles. A very enjoyable show overall.