Created by Tom Wainwright and Urban Wolf, this powerful drama records and explores the impact on his mother, his brother, his sister and his lover of the death of a young black man in police custody. Their battle for truth and justice eventually leads to a verdict of “unlawful killing”. But this is quickly followed by a statement that there is “insufficient evidence to prosecute”. In the eyes of the law, Brian’s death is a crime without a criminal. “There was a bit of a scuffle and I’m sorry he passed away” is the recurring refrain. But the family somehow has to find a way to cope and carry on with their lives.
Taking place over two years, the narrative focusses on how each individual manages their grief and rage and how they interact with each other. Fighting, campaigning, escaping and denying all play a part in their anguished search for ways of surviving a tragedy for which “there is no solution”. How they deal with their fractured world and then manage to put their lives back together is a difficult and challenging process to witness. But it is not without hope. Despite overwhelming anger and a sense of loss, there are moments of lightness and even humour as the family demonstrates its collective will to survive and even begin to find enjoyment again.
This is raw, painful and gripping drama driven by a sure-footed script and compelling performances from every member of the cast.
Custody runs until 22 June in the Ovalhouse, 52-54 Kennington Oval, SE11 5SW
Tickets £10 – £16