Noughts & Crosses

by | Nov 17, 2022 | Featured, Reviews, Theatre

New Wolsey Theatre

This Pilot Theatre production is an adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s series of young adult books ‘Noughts & Crosses’ which follows the lives of two teenagers who live in a systemically racial society. Inequality fundamentally exists between the Crosses and the Noughts. The Crosses (dark-skinned people) are the dominant race where freedoms, money, power and control are theirs and poverty, unskilled work and lack of education is the life of the Noughts (light-skinned people). It is forbidden for Crosses to have relationships with Noughts.

Sephy (Effie Ansah) is a Cross and Callum (James Arden) is a Nought and they are best friends as they used to play together. They only meet in secret locations so they don’t get found out. Sephy’s father is the Home Secretary which means they need to be even more careful of their relationship.

Racial inequality is the driving force behind the storyline and every step of the way we see Callum experience abuse, racism and discrimination while Sephy’s innocence and privileged upbringing believes that change in society is possible.

The Liberation Militia (LM) is an underground freedom fighting organisation of Noughts, which Crosses believe are terrorists and need to be controlled. Callum’s bother Jude, and father Ryan, are secretly involved, a bomb is set off in a shopping centre and Ryan is captured and hung for the crime. This turns Callum and he runs off. Sephy goes off to boarding school to get away.

Three years later and Sephy is still convinced change can happen. Callum’s anger has grown and he is a fully-fledged member of the LM with Jude. They kidnap Sephy and give demands. However, Callum and Sephy’s love rekindles while she is captured. They spend the night together and she escapes.

The end scene is the birth of their baby and with that there is hope.

As it is an adaptation of a series of books it is a huge storyline with big themes, such as political terrorism, forbidden love, suicide, alcoholism, racism, discrimination, abuse, loyalty, prejudice, intolerance, narrow-mindedness. Amongst all this chaos, hurt, trauma and darkness there is a small glimmer of light as Sephy continues to have hope that society can change and with the birth of the baby – the next generation.

There is a lot to get through, the production moves swiftly to cover all the issues for us to understand the whole story, although there is not enough time to go deep and for the audience to get emotionally attached. Saying that, the cast were all very good and each played their characters with thoughtfulness. This touring play is both Effie Ansah and James Arden’s first leading role and they will certainly be playing leading roles again.

It’s set in no particular time or place which makes it a timeless story. With the Crosses in charge, it is an interesting spin on racism as we know it today, however the human issues are identical whatever race is in charge and that’s what hits home.

Noughts & Crosses Tour Dates



  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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