grimeboy trio 

 Corey Weekes as Jay, Kieran Hamilton-Amo as Grimeboy and Alexander Lobo Moreno as Blue. Pictures: Graeme Braidwood


 Birmingham Rep Door


The union of writer Casey Bailey, director Madeleine Kludje, designer Ebrahim Nazier and the backing of the Birmingham Rep, have combined to create Grimeboy, a dynamic and relevant piece of totally absorbing theatre.

This is a play that cannot be performed by just any one. Performers Kieran Hamilton-Amos and Alexander Lobo Moreno, deliver their characters lines with a pace, fury and involvement that makes it hard to believe they might ever have been written by someone else.

Grimeboy tells the story of inner city rap battles, fought out on council estates, and in small rooms and clubs. Two young men, Grimeboy and Blue, find friendship through their passion for their words and music. They both have a vision for success and the hope that it will ultimately better theirs and their family’s lives by them reaching the top as mainstream grime artists.

However this is no simple Star is Born story; the lyrics and performance feel real and truly authentic. Whilst there are the mechanics of theatre to develop and enhance the experience, it is the singular rap performances that come at you like machine gun bursts that are truly exiting to observe. 

Casey Bailey, winner of the Greater Birmingham Future Face of Arts and Culture 2020 has worked closely with The Rep’s Associate Director, Madeleine Kludje. Bailey has said that the association had `opened his eyes to the wondrous possibilities of theatre’ and it’s clearly evident.

There is great skill in delivering this story and the simple but effective set by designer Ebrahim Nazier, serves as a multitude of backdrops from inner city streets to clubs and performance rooms. The team’s ability has been fully maximised reducing certain parts to stark lighting and physical theatre to develop the story. Even the inclusion of the DJ, played by Auden Allen, playing as you enter the room, blends the audience arrival seamlessly into the start of the play.

Grimeboy goes beyond a rags to riches story, exploring friendship, duty and honesty. Jay, Grimeboy's friend played by Corey Weekes, has paid the ultimate price for his friendship with imprisonment for a crime he didn’t commit. Throughout there is an intelligence and exploration of language and culture that defies the stereotypical view of Black youth. This music is as raw and relevant and in the ownership of the makers with them knowing that only a few will ever achieve true success.

Grimeboy takes a genre of music and fuses it with great theatre that makes for a truly original experience. It’s a commendable partnership from all involved in delivering this world premiere of a Rep Original, and truly worth seeing, if you can get a ticket, to witness this unique performance grown from the streets and talent of Birmingham. To 30-04-22

Jeff Grant


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