Love Is Not Enough

New company Beg Borrow Steel makes a promising debut with this story of a west London Jamaican family forced to confront their dark past by an estranged daughter who returns for her late father’s memorial service and the Notting Hill Carnival.

Playwright Justin Marosa developed and staged a version of ‘Love Is Not Enough’ while working with young people at the Tricycle Theatre, and the fruits of his labour show in fluid dialogue that crackles with authenticity and easy wit. His characters – brought to life by a cast who generate enough energy to power the National Grid – feel as though they could have wandered in off the street.

Ultimately, the play tries to do too much, touching on everything from disability and sexuality to child abuse and terminal illness. The lopsided result sees the carnivalesque atmosphere of the first half give way to an excess of breathless plot-manoeuvring as multiple loose ends are hurriedly tied up.

Nonetheless, this heartfelt, funny play both marks Marosa as a writer to watch and thrives in its current setting, a converted warehouse in Peckham. The raucous laughter during the performance I saw was a world away from the well-practised applause of the West End.

First published by Time Out