Almeida play brings home Islington’s drug addiction problem

A HARD-hitting play that brings home the problem of drug addiction to Islington has opened to rave reviews.

Knot of the Heart by David Eldridge, at the Almeida Theatre, in Almeida Street, is set in Islington and tells the story of Lucy, who lives in nearby Gibson Square, a successful children’s TV presenter whose life falls apart as she succumbs to heroin addiction.

It was commissioned by the theatre and the action all takes place in and around the borough, with The Whittington Hospital, the bars and cafes of Upper Street, and nearby Clissold Park all featuring.

The Almeida’s artistic director Michael Attenborough, who is directing the work, said: “The play addresses itself squarely to our audience, and suggests this is not a problem we can turn our backs from – that it affects every strata of society, including the hugely diverse audience that comes to the Almeida Theatre.”

Mr Attenborough said the play was set in Islington for two reasons. “We tend to see heroin addicts as kids in working class areas. But it smashes right through class barriers.

“Islington is a suitable place because it has both well-to-do upper middle class people and also some incredibly deprived areas.

“The second reason is that within 800 yards of the front door of the Almeida we have the one and only drugs crisis centre in London, called City Roads. It’s an extraordinary place.”

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Three of the scenes are set at the City Roads crisis intervention centre, in City Road, Finsbury, which offers beds to drug users in crisis from across London.

The play opened to four and five-star reviews last week, and it has inspired another work on the same theme which will be staged at the theatre in April.

Crawling in the Dark has been commissioned for young people by Almeida Projects, and developed with students from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language College, in Donegal Street, Islington, and Mount Carmel Technology College, in Holland Walk, Archway.