No Man’s Island is another banger from the extraordinary team at The Big House. It tells the colourful life story of ‘Blaze’ a pirate radio station in the heart of Hackney. Spanning the years from 2000 to the present day, Hughbert is the central character and runs the station with his two children and is a father figure to their friends and everyone involved in the station.
Blaze FM is very much of the ethos ‘For us, by us’ and is a community proud. Forever fearing and dodging the DTI, we get a good insight into each character and how the station has impacted them.
“Honestly, the raw talent and energy is palpable and a pleasure to witness– if some of these performers don’t have record deals, they absolutely will soon”.
Directed by The Big House artistic director and chief executive, Maggie Norris, the story weaves poignant historical London events over the years such as the Grenfell Fire and the Tottenham riots amid a heavy and hard-hitting backdrop of Grime. Honestly, the raw talent and energy are palpable and a pleasure to witness– if some of these performers don’t have record deals, they absolutely will soon.
You might not even be into the music but you won’t be able to help nodding your head or tapping a foot – the energy is 100 per cent infectious. There’s quite a lot to unpack in this production and at two hours, it’s long, but absolutely never a dull moment. There’s the birth of a rap star, a death, a deportation… police -all while Hackney quietly becomes gentrified in the background.
I loved the nostalgia of this play. I remember the days of Pirate radio and how influential they were in black communities… and when the pirate stations began to disappear and were replaced by digital and online platforms and how the pace of life changed from then on. I’d say the writers James Meteyard and Jammz and the super-talented cast, captured the culture at different points in time, perfectly.