The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
I was fortunate to grab a ticket to see this fantastic two hander adapted for the stage by Gbolahan Obsisesan.
Knowing nothing at all about the story beforehand (just how I like it) I was blown away at how seamlessly David Alade and Valentine Olukoga took us all on, in and through a journey of the ‘ride or die’, ‘loyal to the end’ relationship that is brotherhood.
Now – I’m a sister to four brothers (the same number of brothers in The Fishermen) and from an external perspective I have first hand experience of this thing we’ll coin as Bro-mance.
I think it’s also important to mention that two of my brothers are 13 months apart – and although not twins they most definitely operate as a unit.
The similarities between my actual brothers and Ben and Obemebe – the two characters in The Fishermen - were uncanny and sent a shiver down my spine. Unlike the stereotype of twins and them being similar, my two brothers are very different from each other, on opposite ends of the spectrum almost, but in times of need they are ONE.
The characterization by David playing Ben and Valentine playing Obembe were identical to what I, as a sister have grown to accept as a strong bond that no one else can penetrate.
Even physically – these two look nothing a like. But in a supernatural way I think this is the universes intention. As your physicality also adds to your unique perspective and therefore what one misses the other picks up on.
Where one is scared the other is bold. Where one is sociable the other is book smart. The ultimate team!
Set in a small town in Nigeria, we first meet the two brothers when Obembe visits Ben in prison through a familiar tribal song. Their use of the small space at the Trafalgar studios added to the story’s intensity and intimacy – and found the exploration of trailing through metal poles that divided the set in half and hiding in passages in between the audience seats epic.
David and Valentine play multiple characters including their mother, father, older two brothers and the local mad man by the river. And their clarity and talent of accents, tone, and physical postures allowed you to follow without question – true story telling!
The set up of their mother in particular added humor and warmth - in what actually turns out to be a horror tale about separation, killing and curses.
Catch the Fishermen by New Perspectives at Trafalgar Studios until 12thOctober