OMG!!! No, literally OMG!!! Welcome to heaven on some kind of earth where angels are forced to live homeless, skint and wacked out on the drug wallop, while waiting to enter the pearly gates sometime in the future on a promise and a prayer.
Purgatory is depicted in this new slick production by R.Kid as some kind of street hell, where Saint Peter (Ross McCormack) is a tramp pushing a shopping trolley full of his belongings; while permanently pissed and stoned cherubs scurry around grovelling for pennies and sleeping rough as yuppies walk by ignoring them.
Angels With Dirty Accents is an immersive drama, where the audience is greeted to ironic slurs of classic pop songs about angels and heaven, where the stage spills off the stage in a delicatessen of bins, bottles and fag ends, and the auditorium is dressed celestially rough. Occasionally some street angels even go begging around the audience.
Here, the real heaven is full of 'bell-ends and losers' and Saraquel (Chris Nickols), enforcer for the shining angel, Gabriel (Julia Walsh), looks like he's come straight from a stormtrooping session, with a gob to match.
Into this mess comes a new dealer in the 'hood, with a wonder drug, ambrosia, that sends you inside out, back to front and into a zombie state that makes Spice come on like Love Hearts...For a free hit, he might want something in return.
Angels With Dirty Accents is a good v evil scenario, although, with lots of twisted characters and turns, somewhere amidst the absurdity the play's message gets blurred. It comes across as some kind of allegory of homelessness, despair, hope and Paradise Lost.
John Milton spent years and zillions of chapters trying to "justify the ways of God to men", with warring angels and epic scenarios. Here, it's like 'fuck that'. As one of the street angels says, God is an 'old twat'. This production is not for the happy, clappy brigade...
With a big cast of twelve, there's great acting all over the place, as characters like Danny, the deceased boxer (Paul Bell), Asmodeus, the dealer (Alex Eagles), Snatch the old hobo (Scott Berry) and ingénue Squid (Tom Lewin) try to figure out whether to wing it with the fucked faith...
Is the end nigh? Is there an angel playing with my heart? Does this feel like heaven? Angels With Dirty Accents is certainly an off its head night out and well recommended as something completely different, and definitely not diffident...
Angels With Dirty Accents
On tonight, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September
Then Wednesday 27th September to Saturday 30th September 7:30pm (doors open 7pm)
Salford Arts Theatre M5 4BS
Tickets £10/£8 – to book click here
For more details see the Angels With Dirty Accents Facebook page – click here and Facebook event page – click here
The play is produced in memory of Paul Longshaw
Review by Stephen Kingston