Hand Of God by Sam Butters
The Hope Theatre 19th - 30th of July
Review by Holly Adomah
Jewel - Flume
Apple Music - Spotify I’m not going to lie; I was really looking forward to matching key moments in Hand of God with my favourite UK Garage tracks as in the copy it states ‘inspired by old school Garage’ but sadly, I couldn’t sense the inspiration. It felt more OONTZ OONTZ to me which matched the overall vibe for the piece but if you’re going to bring Garage, bring Garage. I chose this song because it felt in-sync with the rhetoric and atmosphere of the production. The music by Charlie O’Connor in the production helped to usher Kieron, played by Sam Butters, on his journey, added to his adrenaline and matched with subtle moments of calm as Kieron processes each action whilst multi-rolling. The piece is electric, energetic and moving, but needs more precision in order for it to actively strike its intended audiences.
20 Dollar - M.I.A
Apple Music - Spotify There was a lot going on in such a small space. The writing weaves in-and-out of being lyrical and un-lyrical which at first is difficult to adjust to but after a while, you begin to understand where the play is progressing to. The staging’s floor resembled a football pitch and I would have loved to have seen more footy-styled movement from Sam Butters.
The microphone is used inconsistently throughout the performance which makes it challenging to build the world in our collective imagination. The microphone also drowned out parts of Kieron’s dialogue which made it hard to focus on the writing, especially when Kieron was spitting bars. All of this is similar to the battle going on in this song by M.I.A where it feels like the lyrics and her production are challenging each other throughout making it quite difficult to listen to. The writing is striking and it’s an interesting concept to relate the love of the beautiful game, with gig theatre - the direction just needs to allow for more space to let the writing take lead.
Home By Now - Bombay Bicycle Club
Apple Music - Spotify There is a real sense of home and belonging in Hand of God and I think this song really resembles it. The notion of home offers safety and security for Kieron and Owen but is associated differently for the two. Kieron’s home is on the football pitch, a rectangular piece of land where he can express himself, be seen and accepted as these qualities are not found within the home he shares with his father. Owen’s home is represented as a building which he used to live in, where he was happiest. His representation of home will inevitably be taken from him due to gentrification, a true issue which many inner-city communities face. With the contrasts between the two, their relation is with the beautiful game and what it means to them. It brings them together, even though Owen is reluctant to play to Kieron’s standards.
Weak Becomes Heroes - The Streets
This song represents the potential Hand of God has. The undertones of Garage, the heart and love for the inner-city and working class, the sense of time passing and the pain it leaves behind to those who are forced to gaze into it, akin to what Kieron said; through a pint-glass.
The production needs support, intentions to be re-examined, and the opportunity for it to grow and develop because there are moments of pure gold in it. Kieron met heroes, they’re not the footballers referenced to in the play but ones in his own community and those relationships need to be explored further. Hand of God is an exciting piece and I can’t wait to see its progression.
Loner - Kali Uchis
Rolling Stone - Little Simz
Has It Come To This - The Streets
All Goes Wrong (feat Tom Grennan) - Chase & Status
Move On Up - Curtis Mayfield