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24 November 2021

Brexit Britain is “changing whether it likes it or not”

The National Theatre’s Death of England explores Englishness after Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Phil Clarke Hill

Many of us have spent much of the past two years feeling cooped-up and locked down in Brexit Britain, and the characters of Death of England, Face to Face: Delroy and Michael are no exception. An original film production from the National Theatre, it was written and filmed during and in between lockdowns, when the National Theatre converted the Lyttleton Theatre into a film studio. A reaction to the forced shutdown of venues caused by the pandemic, this approach allowed creativity and performance to continue when all theatres were closed. 

Following on from two stage productions: Death of England and Death of England: Delroy, both one-man shows featuring Michael (Neil Maskell) and Delroy (Giles Terera) respectively, the film sees the two characters come together “to confront their relationship with their country, and each other”. Written by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, and directed by Dyer, it is a captivating hybrid of film and theatre. Exploring the themes of lockdown, interracial friendship and Brexit Britain, the key question always at its heart is: what does it mean to be English now? 

Death of England, Face to Face: Delroy and Michael” is airing on Sky Arts on Thursday 25 November.

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