CountryBoy’s Struggle, directed by Baba Israel Artistic Director of Contact Manchester is a coming of age story about Michael (Maxwell Golden). Born and raised in rural Cornwall he has a passion to become a hip-hop artist, but the West Country isn’t renowned for its thriving hip-hop scene so he takes a chance and goes to London to see if he can make it.
It’s essentially a story of hope and determination. Golden charts the episodes in Michael’s life well and with great physical energy. Starting with birth, through a childhood of playing in rock pools, early teenage years with the frustration of adolescence and then moving to London tempted by drink and drugs. He struggles in a city in which he feels way out of his depth, but his perseverance pays off and he is rewarded for his willpower leaving the audience with a message that is truly inspiring.
I didn’t know how the show would agree with me, I am not clued up on hip-hop and I was a little worried at what was going to happen theatrically. I was somewhat taken back by how easy it was to watch. The musical poetry is what kept me interested though at times one cringed a little inside at some of the lyrics even if they were delivered with great skill.
There are some genuinely good moments, as Michael recounts a peculiar character or two from his past, but sometimes I felt the narrative was a little cliché. It’s certainly a very fresh and lively piece and you can tell that the show will do very well wherever it goes from here. Golden is a very talented performer, he’s sharp, funny and creates brilliantly tender and absorbing moments. Overall I enjoyed it but as I left it still had me wondering ‘Can hip-hop merge itself successfully with theatre and have a lasting place on the theatrical scene?
For more information about CountryBoy’s Struggle which is on at the Pleasance Courtyard for the duration of the Edinburgh Fringe please click here