The Accordion Shop

Young people just want to have fun: that might be a slightly simplistic version of the message behind Cush Jumbo’s The Accordion Shop.

Performed by the Norwich Theatre Royal’s Youth Company at The Garage, the play was inspired by the London riots of 2011 and sees a group of young people corralled into a riot by a mysterious text message.

Luckily, this production has a great deal more finesse than the slightly naive narrative might suggest. Mixing dance movement in with the dialogue, it stylishly unfolds the story of a run-down street and a tragic riot.

Matt Rolls is steady as the wistful eponymous shop owner, and joined at the heart of the story by Gaby Guymer-Davies’ twinkly-eyed old lady character.

Toby Smith is a good-hearted if blunt policeman, Catherine Meyer an overly-earnest teacher and Jessica-Anne Siggins brings a welcome note of cynicism as a draftee TV new reporter.

The movement, choreographed by Cat Chapman, means that it is really an ensemble number though, and a more-than-supporting cast of 10 young actors provide enough physicality and character to conjure a whole school sleepwalking in to violence.

Jo Reil’s direction keeps the piece pacy and engaging beyond what the slightly threadbare story deserves to deliver a production that punches above its weight.