As I’m listening…
Moving to the sound
Of profound messaging
Mikel Ameens lessons in
Grime and African Spirituality
I’m a regular listener but the sound of this topic resonated with me differently
Grime and African Spirituality.
As I switch my right leg for left
skating around this bend lets switch the title for a sec…
African Spirituality and Grime
As spirit comes first I say and ‘Spirit means Breath’ and ‘your entire being is breathing’ says Mikel.
That Black Magic
The origins of all life.
And so like all things birthed… She birthed sounds of vibrations
And what I love about music is… it’s not all about sound. But also about touch, sight and feeling…
And you can regularly get your in-spirational dose
ex-ternally by connecting to Mikels podcast
Ex –ternal activities are a great help in causing inner to grow.
Like my ritual of washing the dishes every morning to clear my mind…
like my ritual of skating to move with nature!
And – as well as the rootsy, dirty, label of GRIME that encompasses both origin with muck…
Is GRIME not ritualistic?
The breath breathes on
The spirit produces music
And us Africans make Grime
With the intention to be a World Changer?
Change – that title back round!
The sound of my skates against the ground of concrete
Reminds me that our presence is not obsolete
I hear Mikel being to Hiiii to go to Hell…
And am encouraged that Heaven is my Right and my Responsibility... (repeat)
I ritualistically move to music skate to sound
Turn back around as I listen.
Birds tweeting, dog barking
And friends laughing
Over my head-phones
My quads - keeping me inline physically – engages me spiritually
As I in-tune to and ex-press out of myself…
World Changer… just by changing myself!
Mikel Ameen’s Spiritual Health podcast is one of my in-tune favourites.
And as part of my In-theatre audio sessions he was always going to be a feature, as these sessions are aimed to encourage us to review ourselves and tune into that inner voice.
So why not start with - Grime and African Spirituality!
Check out Mikel's Website - World Changer Life
SHARE/ COMMENT/ SUBSCRIBE!!
CHECK OUT MY NEW YOUTUBE CHANNEL - Including Reviews in Audio
It’s pretty hard to review theatre during a global pandemic of the corona virus!
However, what about re-viewing reality.
Welcome to my 'In Theatre' Audio Healing Sessions, where we re-hear and talk about issues pertaining to our realities.
Because: “All the Worlds a Stage” – he says.
At its foundation Sharla Reviews aims to be part of a collective - online;
To create a space from a unique… (not really unique - but seldom heard) perspective.
As his-story is loud and white!
I decided to review Theatre and Films, as they are great platforms that imitate a zoomed in (microcosmic) story of our zoomed out (macrocosmic) reality.
And so...the birth of Sharla Reviews happened.
Over the last few months though – our world has felt very much like a Film or a Theatre production – and the majority of us are zoomed in on our devices;
the moment that is Corona.
I’ll actually go as far as saying that now, more than ever we all are very much reliant on hardware technology ( and not spiritual technology) to communicate.
What was once a Physical world – has just entered into a Technological one – and although we differ in opinion on whether we want to
or even rewind
the beast that is the Internet… It is play-ing
whether we like it or not!
Check out my film review of Love and Basketball and how I differentiate between Play-ing and Sports.
And so… let us review or even re-hear our current reality starting (of course) with the title.
And there is a power, despite the chaos
Given by the crown chakra (the grand queen of all chakra’s)
also known as the Corona to improve ourselves even when our idea of normailty has been paused!
Let us begin…
To not just rely on his-story,
but in addition,
self-isolate our own narrative and begin to heal!
Because that is the only way we can survive… this virus.
Healing Session A
During the lockdown - one of the things that we probably discovered is the need for routine.
Without it – everything around us (including people) can become equally as chaotic as this virus.
And whist I’m not big on control - there is a routine and discipline we owe ourselves before we offer it to…
Healing Session B
Once our routine is in place – a space to hear opens…
I’m now 21 months loc’d now.
And the locs are symbolic of my conscious growth and spiritual journey!
I’m learning so much about myself – and I’m always shocked about how much I don’t know and still need to discover!
It’s a conscious journey because my whole belief system has changed, and I am constantly un-loc’ing new things.
On the journey one step I’ve learnt is my own need to be heard…
No surprise then, that in my synchronized existence with the universe, that I came across this Therapy for Black Girls
And Black and Girls because
White and Male
Has made my voice a whisper.
As we turn up the sound
It is quite profound
That the healing starts
a great listener!
And as I listened, in particular to these two sessions:
Session 132: Reimagining Single Life with Dr. Jessica D. Moorman
Session 134: The Impact of Racial Trauma with Dr. Candice Nicole Hargons
This podcast specifically gives space to Black Women's realities. As some of my hardest issues to work on have been racial trauma and finding validity in singleness and being my own hero(ine).
Check out my review of Black Lightning and how alongside the protection from our melanin, electromagnetics are real and are our God given super power!
Therapy for Black Girls is hosted by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford confirms common issues faced by the duality of being Black and Female; guiding us to know that our experiences are very much a reality and offers, something quite unique to other podcasts in the fact that Dr Joy Harden Bradford always has another guest (usually a Black Female doctor) that she has a coversation with.
Because: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them" He says
These Black Women doctors offer therapy just by uniting. Healing Through conversation, piecing together our her-story and inviting us to be architects of our own future through the sound of their voice.
And I heard my existence being -
Birthed through divine femininity
Validated with intellect and
Celebrated by unity!
Because even though my voice is a whisper, I’m not ever really in self isolation.
Because accumulated whispers make a thunderous ROAR!
Are you listening?
Therapy for Black Girls - ✮✮✮✮✮
I keep hearing about this global production –
Have you seen it?
A worldwide production, that apparently started in China, has dominated humanity in a matter of weeks.
All around me.
As I travel up and down the country - people are coughing and sneezing about it.
Have you caught it?
When reviewing a theatrical production I normally like to experience it first, before researching and writing. But the infiltration of information is warning me to stay away.
To stay away that is...
But this production is pandemic – meaning we all have to watch… out.
It’s not just live in our lives, but social in the media and TV is covering all other corners.
Some of our biggest celebrities like Boris Johnson, Prince Charles and Idris Elba are in starring roles.
It’s not a production I want to be involved in…. but it's not optional as it will affect all of our lives physically, economically and psychologiclly. And apparently the rising figures of death isn’t figurative at all.
The normal reassurance of looking away, changing the channel or even leaving (the place or country)- when you find a production disturbing - isn’t accessible...
Is on every channel and every street.
Even going to sleep isn’t an escape.
The worry haunts you!
And when you awake the nightmare persists.
Buju Banton: Corona A Look MI
I ask my 80 something only living grandparent if she has ever experienced an event whereby the majority of the world is on lockdown…
and if she had there wasn’t a machine like the internet to offer an up to date live recording.
As the concept of time changes before all of our eyes.
And as we all obediently play our unique parts in this global pandemic.
All of us living at this time have aged in a way unthinkable a few months ago when the clock struck 12 into 2020.
I dream about the day I’m face to face with my gran again.
Is it a dream?
I fantasise about playing around and ramping with my nephew...
I channel hugging my niece!
And look forward to telling my grandchildren the -
“Once upon a time.
Back in my day… in my late 30’s…
The planet experienced a vicious viral pandemic!
It stole many lives,
but was the first time in world history when we…
spoke with one voice
to kill it!’
We can run (mostly in parks) but we can't run away from this and all its nuances...
We can't run away from ourselves... listen to Bob
I was privileged enough to be invited to The High Table at the Bush Theatre, as you know titles are very important to me - and this title made me feel exclusive!
Meet Tara and Leah – Black and Woman and getting married!!
Say it loud!
I'm Black and... Proud?
With Black and Proud having a whole new spin – I was seated around the ancestral circle of a press night filled with black creatives – celebrating the union of an often hidden affair.
Antennas on up!
I was skeptical at first – because my traditional mindset means I’m from the school of not wanting to expose unresolved issues or topics within the community… the black community. This is because my trust for external (non-black) communities is at an all time low.
I have found that when other communities are presented with our issues they use it as a means to manipulate rather than aid in progression... i.e.
“Nigerians and Jamaicans don’t get on do they?”
“Black guys have told me that Black women are really aggressive!”
“I wish Tanisha was like you and stopped wearing that awful wig!"
So… my antennas (uncovered and out of the wig) were up!
The whole Cast, Writer and Director alongside the majority of the audience were black so why were my atennas up?
Did I truly accept the black gay community as belonging to the Black Community?
Was this play going to ridicule my community as a way to under handedly appease whiteness through the guise of gayness?
This was my concern... but as part of my own process, the development in my ability to critically think and my constant communication with myself about my concerns - is in fact to grow... and my learning definitely grew...
Actually, what I experienced was a new type of community that was vibrant, bold and challenged rigid boxes of identity... both the production and the audience.
But for the sake of the box which is this review I want to look at a theme that The High Table presents and that is to be Black and Gay.
I think that the black gay community belongs to two (at least) marginalized groups – groups that have had their narrative demonized, and are silently longing for appreciation.
How then the black and gay community are portrayed then, is therefore very important because of discrimination.
And although black is not synonymous with heterosexuality and homosexuality is not synonymous with white, I think (maybe because of patriarchy and colonisation) the black straight person and white gayperson hang onto these privileges to navigate through life.
So then... to be Black and Gay and Female – What do you hang onto?
The High Table does a great job at delicately navigating, questioning and celebrating all of these things. Responding with humor, his(her)story and love. Taking their rightful seat at The High Table of inclusivity.
Black and Proud!
High up in the Stars!
What I thoroughly enjoyed was The High Tables exploration of the root of homosexuality and the education of this type of relationship existing pre-colonized Africa.
With Valentines Day recently, and my current revelation about the origins of Romance - I am desperate for us all to look at what has influenced conventional relationships, in particular black love.
I watched in delight.
Relaxed my antennas (rather than my hair lol)...
as The High Table celebrated blessings from the ancestors through dance, communication and love imbedded in Tara and Leah’s African relationship!
The High Table is at the Bush Theatre until 21st March
Directing by Daniel Bailey
Writing by Demi Wilkey
It’s Saturday afternoon, the time is 2:20pm - and the 68 bus that I’m on is taking its sweet time to get to the stop I need.
I have anxiety...
2:26pm and I’m running now – organising in my mind what to do first. Get ticket or use bathroom?
The last time I came to watch a theatre show here I was bursting to go and had to leave halfway through... so I NEED to use the bathroom
2:29pm and I’m on time. Breathe!
I mention my journey - my usual frantic journey - where time is a constant challenge, to give you a Fairview of how living in this high demanding city for some... isn't a Fair-f**k@%g-view at all!
Talking of stressed out - the statistics in the UK are currently through the roof for Black Mental Health... have a read... Fairview?
I enter the auditorium... (like actually inside where the production is) for this Saturday Matinee... and join (with some hesitation as you don't usually have to wait inside) the 'Lucky Dip' line.
The line appears to be made up of the under 40’s and ethnic... so, I join...
Tall Brown Skin Man (30ish): Have you got a ticket?
Tall Brown Skin Man (30ish): Oh. So you don’t have to queue then, you can just go to your seat
ME: So what are you all queing for then?
Tall Brown Skin Man (30ish): We couldn't get a ticket, so we have to wait until the beginning of the show to be seated
I hesitantly move away from the queue... away from the non-white under 40's to take my seat... Fairview?
I struggle with the concept of luck...
I cannot comprehend things just happening... because, well they happen?!
And the way my sychronicity is currently - I have a belief system whereby I read (maybe too much) into the clues from the cosmos.
Could it be, that as I transcend out of my working-class, survival mode mentality... I think I can control my future?
Therefore, superseding luck... is this a fairview??
A quick digression but check this out and see the 9 Signs That You Are In Survival Mode:
To further my journey - not to the theatre but in my alignment with cosmic energy I do not see my colour as either good or bad luck - see my review on CATS on how the black cat, played by a white male became good luck.
The state of affairs regarding class and race in this country is only a reflection of the sickness of those inflicting pain - and as someone who is being hit - my mind (at times) transcends to a calming, peaceful realm as there... there is no pain!
Back to this reality...
So I take my seat on the 5th row, 1 in from the sea of white faces that are already in theirs and remember that I was shouted out on twitter because… well, because of the lack of black faced audience members and black faced reviews.
Before the curtains open I know that the people on stage will, unlike the audience, look like me and my prediction is right.
What seems to be a play about a middle-class African-American family reverses the racism of socially constructed labels back on... well the labellers. And attempts to deconstruct like never before!
The twists and turns and ultimate chaos the play presents and causes internally, in real-time, is something that you just have to experience.... but trust me is a necessity for the status quo and left me in complete and utter shock!
It looks unapologetically into racial constructs and stereotypes which I loved - and mixed and messed with the middle-class (also White) image of beauty and perfection and the grotesque, ugly (Black?) image.
Without going into too much detail and spoiling what are crucial parts of the whole production, this plays title - under investigation - gives a Fairview of just how some of us experience a world that is the polar opposite.
What I found extremely satisfying is its attempt to close the 'safety gap' in a White English audience not fully taking responsibility or feeling the effects of racism because of the obsession with presenting Black American stories... therefore it is White Americans only that are evil.
Fairview is innovative, exciting, challenging as well as uncomfortable and disturbing, but this is the point and this is theatre.
If you can (if you're lucky) go watch it at the Young Vic asap... it finishes Thursday 23rd January!
Jackie Sibbles Drury
By Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti
A Kind of People at the Royal Court is a modern day, thought provoking, vibrant piece of theatre – based in London and wrapped in everyday politics that captured my attention from beginning to end.
I found it so refreshing to go to the theatre and experience a London that I am used to; a London that I grew up in; a truly diverse London – and not just ‘diverse’ because of its inclusion of different races – but diverse because, with each socially constructed box that was ticked, it raised the multi-faceted, lateral view points, belief systems, conflicting and contradicting topics that just do not ‘fit’.
Where do I begin??
To break convention lets start at the end… that was actually the beginning. The last scene of A Kind of People, which I found the most jarring – the epilogue.
According to Wikipedia the definition of an epilogue in a play -
is a short piece that wraps up the end of a story. ... Epilogue comes from the Greek word epilogus meaning the conclusion of a speech.
Photo Credit - Manuel Harlan
So that's the meaning, but I found that the epilogue in A Kind of People - went back in time, to the beginning (like a flashback in a film), and revealed how Nicky (played by Claire-Louise Cordwell) and Gary (played by Richie Campbell) - the central characters - first met.
Unlike a flashback moment in the TV/ Film medium, this didn't work for me! And whilst I always want theatre to push its usual conventions, something about the jump from the scene before (which I thought would have been an excellent ending) to this epilogue, sat weird with me.
Claire-Louise Cordwell and Richie Campbell, however, did a fantastic job at jumping emotionally from one extreme to another. But this wasn't enough - and I felt that the inclusion of an epilogue 'explaining where it all began', was unnecessary.
We get the love and chemistry of Nicky and Gary's relationship strongly throughout the play and the epilogue, for me, was an attempt to not demonise Nicky's character - therefore shying away from/ avoiding the hard-hitting, candid reality of what potentially drives people over the edge! And whilst I found A Kind of People a humorous, relatable experience - my desired ending (Scene 10) exposes the tragic effects society has on our personal relationships and on our children.
The ‘Diverse’ political Themes
Photo Credit - Manuel Harlan
Epilogue aside, A Kind of People did a brilliant job at displaying different Kinds of People.
You should know by now how I love relevant titles!
We are taken on an emotional journey of;
- The unconscious bias that exists in corporate Britain
- The off key (frankly racist) one liners that come from the 'wanna be down' white people (or brown!)
- Good times with music and wine (or proseco) - because regardless of the politics we are all experiencing London in this time
- All the intricacies that come from being from more than one culture... more than one race
- The challenges that explode in your face when your ethics meet your childs future.
- The unity and disparity that comes, just by living in London.
It was so refreshing to watch a play whereby the Black actors express their British-ness – their Caribbean British-ness… and are not doing an African/ American accent which has irritatingly become trend and the norm for many Black British actors… whose norm is a British accent. I think what I'm trying to say is that this play reflected highly my perspective of me and the people around me!
What was also very refreshing – and something that is seldom seen on a mainstream stage, was the conversation between Gary and Karen his sister (played by Petra Letang) at the beginning of scene 7, and the specificity, hypocrisy and complexity of being Black and Jamaican and British.
Gary: Living? Us lot, we’ve hardly survived. Do you know the Caribbean population in this country is dying out? The Africans are taking over. One more generation and we’ll be gone.
These words are loaded with paradox, blame and evasion of individual responsibility – especially as Gary is a black man with a white wife and mixed-race children. But I loved the inclusion of these contradictions from many of the characters because I find that real! We constantly contradict, as we constantly evolve... and I'm coming to accept that that is just part of being human.
Another major theme, and the above example expanded, is the question of ‘the system’ and how we all fit into it; comply with it; see it; cope with it - dependent on our race, class, gender and education.
This play is ram packed with this question at every turn, and the visually, stereotypical, square characters – all challenge who you assume they are at some point during the narrative.
An example of this is Anjum (played by Manjinder Virk) and Mo (played by Asif Khan) a British Pakistani couple, neighbours to Nicky and Gary. Anjim and Mo understand and experience the oppression of race and feeling inferior. However, they are from another class, so do not fit neatly into the non-white box simultaneous with poverty. And although they have 'worked hard' for what they have - they are divided in their parenting on whether or not they want the same experience for their son. And 'by any means necessary' ensures their son qualifies to private education.
I was torn into pieces over whose politics I agreed with, because of how loaded, in-depth and thought through the characters were. I even really enjoyed Amy Morgan’s portrayal of Victoria – Gary’s ‘superior’ white, female manager - that lives in the privilege of executing unconscious bias.
If theatre is a medium to change and evolve its audience - then Gary and Nicky’s children, who are never seen, really did this for me. Their absence from the stage made them the focus, the main characters and had me seething in my seat at how society (as well as individual choices) always end up having the harshest impact on the lives of our young.
The tragedy is that we all seem to be caught up in a catch 22 system!
I want children; but refuse to raise them intentionally alone. I’m strict with this! So strict that I have come to realise, imbedded into who I am attracted to is also my unconscious bias of how brilliant a parent he will be!
In A Kind of People – the tragedy (which I will not spoil) exposes a very real issue about the decision and choice to procreate, and with whom. And I don't think the solution is to do it alone if you can financially afford to either.
Scene 10 (my preferred ending) see's both Gary and Nicky fall apart... but what about the children? It really made me realise the value of investing in yourself psychologically and emotionally (as two single individuals first). That way once you're done sorting yourself out - YOU are equipped 'by any means necessary' to put the children first!!
Gary: Living? Us lot, we’ve hardly survived. Do you know the Caribbean population in this country is dying out?
Unlike the epilogue - that too quickly tidies up the ending, taking away from the crux of the play – I thought the true ending (scene 10) attempted to expose the ugly effects of poverty and discrimination. And whilst I understand how horrific the scene is - loved it!
Check out this short video by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti on the Power structures and inequality in A Kind of People... our society!
The Heroine… My Epilogue
I’ve been a fan of Petra Letang since Babyfather in the early nought-ies.
A few years ago I saw her at the Screen Nation awards and boy did she have presence!!
Letang does a brilliant job with her character Karen... as a sister... to Gary - and although not on stage enough, every moment was optimised, offering some of the best one liners of the play.
Letang's incredible comedic timing had me in stiches, and there was a moment where she waited for the audience to gain composure and repeated her line again, for those who didn't hear it the first time.
I also enjoyed the subtlety of her alcohol dependency, her relationship and bond with Nicky and her scorn for creepy Mark (played by Thomas Coombes), Gary's work friend... who just is always there!
It was no surprise then that Karen - despite her own issues of loneliness and being a single parent was the saving grace for these Kind of People! The glue - for a cast, that may experience a fragment of discrimination... but she encompasses many more obvious fragments, and yet 'Still She rises' from class to race to gender to singleness to....
You get it.
The true heroine, that rescues Gary and Nicky from a brutal, unforgiving system that is against them for the beginning.
Like her character both on the stage and off, it is Letang's image that is most definitely representational of London. Modern day. Vibrant. Diverse. Hero(ine)!
A Kind of People at the Royal Court is on until Saturday 18th January and I highly recommend this one!
Directed by Michael Buffong
A star retracted for the epilogue
Having recently performed at Theatre Peckham in Trade, and it actually being my local theatre, I was delighted to be invited to the Press Night of Extremism.
The foyer was buzzing! Buzzing with laughter, conversation and diversity, and so on entry I felt right at home.
Did you know that Southwark has the youngest and most diverse demographic in London?
No surprise then that Extremism is a direct, candid exploration of what it means to live in a multicultural city whereby your belief systems, ethnicity and politics may be extreme-ly different to your neighbors.
Further to this, the in-direct, composed cultural associations of being British are changing. Extremism not only demonstrates this cultural shift in young people, but also raises some thought-provoking questions about how to determine who is a terrorist!
How do we find similarity when members of our community look and dress so different?
Do we need to, in order to live peacefully?
Is it just about the peace in our lives… or is the peace of others just as important?
*Prevent is a Governmental anti-terrorism programme, that advises those in positions of trust such as teachers, doctors and nurses to be the eyes on the ground and report any suspicion of radicalization.
But from whose perspective, and are the “eyes on the ground” clouded in un/conscious bias?
In an age when we are collectively questioning who taught us what and why - I found this production immersive, hard-hitting and very triggering. Set in a school classroom from the perspective of sixth formers – we (the audience) join the students and are seated at desks in the round. We are all pulled back in time to our school days, to our classrooms and reminded of how brutal our peers can be.
Extremism looks at how heavily we all identify with our race, religion, culture and politics, how these intertwine, and our potential actions and reactions when met with opposing views and no authoritative presence.
My 16-year-old self lost sight of watching a play objectively, or the fact that the young people were merely acting, and I no longer attended school. But my 16-year-old self, shouted out at injustice; laughed at how familiar the characters were; and was devastated at what my older self can now articulate as straight up racism! And how loaded and oppressed and manipulated our response to it is.
It’s been a longtime since a production has captivated me like this – and I think it is because of how familiar the setting was; the impact of social media on our self esteem and as a tool to further bully; and because of being an aunt and older cousin to young people who potentially face this pressure daily! I also felt heavily involved because the play is loaded with our current political state. Adding to the separation and hierarchy in the classroom, despite an age of over-flowing knowledge of content that is unfiltered for our young.
Acting (see above)
Directed by Suzann Mclean
Set by Emma Wee
Catch Extremism at Theatre Peckham NOW! Ends 23rd November.
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
If representation is your thing this is definitely the play to see! Not only because of its inclusion of non-white, gay women but also because it challenges the style in which theatre is often presented.
In its gig like format we meet four very different women that tussle with their identity, and how their respective cultures and his (her)story contributes to their lives in England. Introducing their names and how they were named through song, Chiaroscuro unifies these four women through music. Not only are we treated to song, we are also treated to intervals of live music, with an original music score that underlines each of the characters journey – and this feature ultimately sets this play in a league of its own .
#shoutout Shiloh Coke
Chiaroscuro: (noun) the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.
With the meaning defined - this play definitely shades light... [shades light… Light and Shade…]
… on the challenges of sexuality.
Written in 1986 by Jackie Kay the conversations surrounding homosexuality then doesn’t seem to have shifted much now in 2019, and therefore enlightened me further about the pain that is still endured by being gay. The antagonist, or homophobic character Yomi (played by Gloria Onitiri) presented a strong counter argument to why she didn’t feel a gay relationship was a natural relationship… and as hard as it was to sit through, Gloria does an amazing job of presenting harsh unconventional views that was needed to ignite debate.
The story itself centres on the relationship between Beth (played by Shiloh Coke) and Opal (played by Anoushka Lucas) and I thoroughly enjoyed the awkwardness and intricacies that surround fancying someone. What I also found highly interesting was Opals struggle with mental illness and loved how both the lights, sound and live music complimented the fractioned thoughts and voices that this character experienced.
Opals battle did cause me to question what made Beth stay… and whether relationships that are persecuted by others fight harder to stay together.
Coincidently I watched this video a few days before…
Ending in vibrant costume - singing as well as playing their instruments - the quartet end the show quite literally in full swing.
This was good. But there were so much other things going on, such as singing, playing and moving I think this was slightly compromised.
I loved this! Set in the round I thought all sides were covered by the actresses and thoroughly enjoyed the musical underscore of character journey
I did enjoy the seperate stations of instrumnets and like that the cast were on stage throughout. But thought the pulling on and off of the instruments distracting at times.
Chiaroscuro is on at the Bush Theatre until 5thOctober