Noughts & Crosses Review

The Lowry, Salford – until Saturday 2nd March 2019.  

Reviewed by Sarah Cockerill


Malorie Blackman’s award winning novel is brought to life as Noughts and Crosses comes to the Lowry, Salford, as part of Pilot Theatre’s nationwide tour.

This is a Classic Romeo and Juliet story of forbidden love with a modern day twist, exploring racial segregation, extremism and class divide in this stage adaptation of the staple novel found on many teenagers’ bookshelves since 2001.

In a world that upon first glance seems not unlike our own, Noughts & Crosses is set in a dystopian society where one race is superior to the other in every possible way. The audience are introduced to Sephy (Heather Agyepong), of the dark skinned upper ruling class otherwise known as a Cross, and Callum (Billy Harris), a Nought, the lighter skinned lower class whose ancestors were once slaves to the Crosses. Sephy and Callum are keen to show the world that they can and will be friends, and perhaps naively, are desperate for Noughts and Crosses to be treated as equals. 

All of the cast should be applauded for their commendable performance, but Harris’ masterful character development was truly outstanding – from his portrayal of an optimistic, bright boy, who would love nothing more than to live in a democratic, egalitarian society in the first act, to evolving into a pained young man who is living a self fulfilling prophecy of the shameful branding he and his family have been stamped with. 

Having heard of Noughts and Crosses as simply a book that I really should have picked up by now, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this stage adaptation, but I was stunned. What we got was a thought-provoking, harrowing performance that left the audience in tears, teenagers and adults alike which I suspect will keep people thinking long after leaving the theatre, and rightly so.

Catch Noughts and Crosses at The Lowry, Salford, until Saturday 2nd March