A Kind Of People Review

'A Kind of People' by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti

Royal Court Theatre: Dec 2-Jan 18

Review by Aruna Jalloh, Ben Quashie & Khai Shaw

Lingus - Snarky Puppy

Spotify - Apple Music

This song was chosen for its resemblance to Bhatti’s writing style. Lingus is a song that explodes into being; horns, synths and more all tied in by a refreshingly irregular drum beat. It’s immediately fun and funky and yet as the instruments begin to solo, it’s here where you see the songs true magic. The solos are complex, impressive and dynamic and yet they remain completely in the same key and tone as the melody, making them feel oddly familiar. Bhatti’s writing does something similar; a myriad of scenarios and situations that seem to explode out at you, yet it is only in the aftermath of the scene that you realise the cracks were already showing. There’s one particular synth solo in Lingus, performed by Cory Henry, that perfectly mirrors Bhatti’s style. As the solo continues the drummer pushes the tempo, faster and faster, in a similar vein to Bhatti’s characters, pushing each other with their arguments and conflicts, right until they reach their breaking point.


A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke

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We felt like this song reminded us of the final scene and its energy. The pain and soul of Cooke’s voice is the perfect juxtaposition of the words and the melody in this song. You can tell that this is a man who has been through it! But despite all of that, there’s a beauty in the struggle and there is always hope to overcome your circumstances and create something better for your future. It is this mentality that is shared between Cooke and the characters of Gary and Nicky at the end of the play. Even the horns and strings in the melody seem to mirror the sunset lighting state at during the final scene. Lovely stuff.


Rewind - Craig David

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There’s only two words needed to explain this song choice: Community. V I B E S! Garage was a special moment in UK culture (in our humble opinion.) It was a time of connection, regardless of race, age or gender. To us, Garage music represents fellowship and community and its fitting that Michael Buffong used several garage instrumentals throughout the play to tell us exactly who these characters are and where they come from, as it pinpoints a time in their upbringing. Despite their growing conflicts and personal struggles, it really does feel like this is a strong community of people with a shared ideology, though whether or not they have a real sense of care for one another remains to be seen...


Crew Love (ft. The Weeknd) - Drake 

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This song so perfectly resembles the overall pacing of the show that its almost spooky. From the get go, the expansive drums, layered over with heavy 808’s feel explosive and visceral, it’s almost as if you’re being punched by them. This relentless knocking’s only reprieve is a beautifully played piano arpeggio. It’s spacious and slow, a welcome breather from the heavy 808’s… until they start back again almost immediately, just as Bhatti does with her raw, rapid fire commentary on the society we live in today. As an audience we are barely given a breather before we are bowled over by yet another negative twist in the story of Gary and Nicky. It’s frenetic in nature but oddly the climax never comes. The 808’s merge into a familiar yet welcome hip hop beat for Drake to deliver some poignant reflection over (there’s even a line which seems to echo Gary’s mantra on there at 1:54) and the song continues… much like the events do for Bhatti’s characters. There’s no real climax in the events, simply the notion that life must go on, even in the face of intense pain.


Poetry (ft. Natty Reeves) - .Sinh

Spotify - Apple Music

Our final choice for this Play’s Playlist is one that represents what the play is really trying to do in the sense of self-reflection and improvement. The simple beat accompanied by the tones of the synths feel dark and murky, but at the heart of this song is a beautiful sax. It’s vibrancy and soul feel like someone struggling in the darkness, trying to reach the light. It’s this sense of Hope and overcoming your situation no matter how dark, that perfectly encapsulates the heart of this play. Every single character has a struggle and every single character feels like their means of coping are being stripped away and yet… they still fight. They carry on, just as this sax does. For us, it feels like this is Bhatti’s true message: yes life isn’t easy. And yes dreams and even your love for something or someone can change and become lost, but there is always hope. And if you hold onto that, you’ll be ok.

Honourable Mentions

FEEL - Kendrick Lamar

7 days - Craig David

Dreams (ft. Carmody) - Alfa Mist

Black - Dave

 

London, UK

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