Christian McLaughlin talks to DJ, poet and now playwright Charlie Dark about his play and the downside of living the DJ dream
CHARLIE Dark - haven't heard of him? Not to worry, by the end of this show you'll know him better than his biggest fans.
Those familiar will know him as a DJ, producer and spoken-verse poet, famous for recording on James Lavelle's Mo Wax record label in the late 90s and for launching the ongoing Blacktronica club night in 2001.
Thankfully however, this 90-minute onehander is not a celebrity-DJ tribute. More tears and trials than babes and bling, Have Box Will Travel is the story of a displaced Ghanaian boy finding his identity through dance, music and downfall.
"One minute you're playing to thousands in a club, the next you're alone in a hotel room. The loneliness is hard to deal with," Charlie says of his jet-set DJ days.
"The worst thing is you can't tell anyone. You're supposedly living the dream, yet the dream is far from what you thought it would be."
Charlie's dream officially fell apart eight years ago after being dropped by Sony at the peak of his career.
"Big music labels make a lot of demands, and I hope this play can explain a bit more about the pressure you come under," he says.
A spoken-verse poet for more than 15 years, this is Charlie's first attempt at full-length theatre.
"My poems are usually a couple of minutes long, so I just treated the play as a very long poem."
A poem broken up by the very best of his music collection, pumped out from an impressive array of turntables and music production equipment scattered across the Lyric Studio stage.
Having battled back to launch Blacktronica, as well as being a proud father of two, Charlie once again feels like the master of his own destiny.
"Growing up is a lot more difficult than I'd imagined. I'm just glad I've got to the stage where I can get up in front of an audience and tell the highs and lows of my story."
* Have Box Will Travel by Charlie Dark is at the Lyric Studio, Lyric Square, Hammersmith, until May 3. Shows at 8pm Monday-Saturday. £12/9 concs. Call 08700 500 511. See www.lyric.co.uk