A truly deep and enlightening one women show; performed and written by Apphia Campbell. Apphia Campbell sets her stories against a powerful soundtrack of original music, traditional gospel and blues. Strongly showcasing the reciprocating effects and struggle the black community embodied in the name of civil rights. During this show the audience were continuously taken through a series of events, time travelling to the period of 1970s witnessing traumatic experiences from the Black Panther Assata Shakur.
Fast forwarding to the 20th century, a time fused with the Ferguson riots, chaos and injustice that had taken place during the midsts of a college enrolment.
This show expressively role-plays the corruption of America’s injustice system; focusing on the irrational criminalised infrastructure through political activism; whilst focusing on the parameters of acknowledging the power her skin beholds to now become her voice. To balance out this play Apphia’s passionate singing, humour and characterisation techniques as well as her usE of the entire stage was thoroughly enjoyable.
This captivating play brought a fusion of vitality to display. The more you watched her, storytelling the sequence of what black empowerment meant to her, the more you got a sense of black history and how much more there is cover in its entirety.
Yvette is a unique and emotionally compelling autobiography; written and performed by the multi-disciplinary artist Urielle Klein-Mekongo. The entire production embarks on an emotional journey themed around insecurity, naivety, peer-pressure, infatuation and toxicity. Toxicity that exists within friendship groups; a strict and cultural household and during hormonal imbalances when going through puberty, battling mental constraints of self-worth and self-love.
This play reminisces on the competitive, bitchy and immature nature of challenging secondary school life. In this play we witness Yvette stuck in an era of betrayal even from her best friend, being the centre of hot gossip, attracting inevitable confrontation, loss of confidence after facing rejection from a close, male companion and not being stereotypically desirable enough to hang out with the popular girls either. As a determined student; we see she ambitiously aimed to avoid fights, leave school with good grades and do her parents proud but somehow ending up with the complete reverse; facing suspension after a fight she didn’t provoke, seeing nothing but disappointment on her mothers face to then get criticised for being too influenced by the western worlds ways; losing a sense of her identity and culture. This show travelled minds through the highs and lows of raw and unapologetic truths, unleashing harsh realities as the audience entered in to Urielle’s world.
Yvette for me was about self-expression. By featuring live looping to reinforce her truth through music accelerated our connectivity to Urielle even moreso. Her incredible talent sophisticatedly radiated as we saw an abundance of her singing and spoken word. The loop pedal in her performance truly brought a different experience to her play. Urielle’s rhythmic sentiment chanted a majestic and energetic sensation, making you want to vibe with her on stage. This incredibly upbeat and vibrant show was well balanced in spite of being an equally emotionally abstract and fugitive autobiography.
The layout of the set was an interior design of a compact apartment almost, the mis-en-scene and vitality of the show was simplistic and significantly strong. Urielle’s consequential storyline involved humorous and enjoyable multi-roleplaying throughout. Her level of creativity showed most efficiently during the scene of her re-enacting her interaction with an acquaintance simultaneously; having half of her body facing the audience whilst smartly clothing her right arm in a jacket that gently and subtly caressed the left part of her face to reflect the intimate moment that was manifesting between them both. This scene had an incredibly suspenseful nature making the believability of this scene intense to watch. Every abstract scene in Yvette achieved a suspenseful and self-wakening substance to take away from in hindsight.
Yvette speaks on the underlying issues of ethnic minorities not looking exotic enough or fitting in to society’s perceptions of beauty standards. This production also reflects on the importance of practicing, acknowledging and embracing a sufficient form of self-love during womanhood. As well as how imperative it is to overcome your past and focuses on the present as what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.
A truly heart felt, rhythmic, fundamental, self-healing and women empowering play that ended with the talented actress, singer and songwriter singing her song ‘You Are’. This song is a declaration of being a survivor and not a victim and owning your scars, ending with the words living, breathing, feeling, winning! An inspirational play that speaks volumes into what it means to not give up without a good fight and crown yourself with victory and let no one destroy your destiny. The song Urielle wrote entitled ‘You Are’ is no doubt powerful enough to help women of all ages who feel execration towards themselves learn to accept, transform and become open to appreciating themselves wholly through this remarkably beautiful song.
’Soul Lyrical’ is a multi-displinary show, an eye-opening production that grips you in from start to finish. Co-directed by Suzann McLean in collaboration with Ragz-CV who’d performed his first spoken-word album entitled ’Soul Lyrical’.
Ragz-CV is an extremely talented spit-firing poet, his lyrical content is a true expression of power and enlightenment. The energy that radiated from his free-flowing verses were compelling as he fused emotion, tone and tension together. This show had other incredible live performances merged, turning Theatre Peckham into a powerhouse, which was where the show took place. A massive credit to the following acts: Saxophonist Michael Cann-Abaidoo, Pianist Victor Akrofi and artist’s Sheena & Magero who’s voices sounded as if there was an ensemble of sacred angels securely fastened to their chests.
Ragz-CV’S inspiration and input into two of the scripts, one being ‘My Brothers Keeper’ was a refection of past experiences that he’d personally encountered as well as known for other people to have encountered. This production was an emotional journey as several of the scenes throughout this play broadens the conscious mindset as it exploits various aspects of young people’s involvement in knife crime, appreciation of mothers and the significance of identifying with your culture and mental health.
The initial themes exhibited were acceptance, self-worth and identity. The featuring of young people helped make this production sentimental as their connectivity to their character imperatively showed, making the scenes they acted in sincerely heartfelt and luring. I was able to speak with Ragz-CV afterwards and he’d highlighted that the young people involved were able to connect and resonate to the script as a few of them had either mentioned that they’d either seen or witnessed someone who’s been through some of the situations that were raised in the play.
’Soul Lyrical’ is a chain of captivating mediums and content which seeks to raise self-awareness. The abstract dimensions in this show channelled what it meant to be an ethic minority affiliated with negativity when not truly knowing yourself. It was a beautiful moment when Magero’s mum connects to her son from the audience, communicating with him in their native tongue, Swahili. This beautiful unexpected moment between a mother and her son came after Magero spoke on how he felt growing up with a low demographic of his native people in a new country, city and area. We witnessed that by Magero hearing his mothers voice his dysfunctional mindset was regenerated. This element in the play was a clear indication that by an elder connecting with the youth it holds the key to prevention of being led astray.
The production Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster is triumphantly spectacular! featuring an abundance of sensory flows from different types of beatboxers’ who all ecstatically project an aura of an overwhelming system, which conveys power and pain. Compellingly taking our ears through motions as their voices effortlessly, vigorously exploit numerous of in-depth frequencies from low to high simultaneously. Several of the beatboxers fluidity hypnotised us through their radio waves, leaving memorisation as they mind-blowingly touched on elements affiliated with political, mental and emotional conflict.
The beatboxers collectively integrated upbeats. In beat we witnessed a fusion of music genres from their voices alone, whether it be House, Funk, Blues, Motown or Pop this crew had it down to the ‘T’. Their music chords impressively merged heavy deep drums, string instruments and much more.
Incorporating Mary Shelley’s original, which was reimagined with soundscapes, sonic trickery and songs. To the counts within their musical flow, their vocal chords went to the rhythms of 1,2,3,4 but automatically speeded up to their heartbeats chanting 2,4,6,8. This soon boomed to a higher frequency as they began harmonising, synchronising, fluctuating and exploiting various other musical genres. The energy in the space became immense, especially when the space effectively transitioned into the vibes of an electrifying gig.
Frankenstein had six acts in this play, all playing to their individual strengths whether it be singers, rappers, poetic essences and of course beatboxers; Frankenstein had it all! This production visually moved brains, you could feel the creatives hearts race, pumping to the counts of 10, 20, 30, and 40. Their sounds enhanced colourful patterns of different worlds colliding; projecting cinematic sounds of life and power whilst they embraced an emotional energy, triggered by a world we all know so well, as we become witnesses to the power of monsters all around us, strengthened by voices empowering them.
The light moods had sparkles, gloss and smoke, the colours resembled energy, fire and enjoyment. This factor helped increase vibrations of radio-waves as they got even deeper into how to make a monster. The artistic designs were radiating meaning you couldn’t help but glance with amazement!
Overall, Frankenstein gives you high adrenaline. A breathtaking, unforgettable and exceptionally enjoyable production! A fantastic experience for all to see, featuring beat box battles, audience immersive orchestra and childrens participation! A must see meticulous show with a talented team, you will not be disappointed!
Post is a solo, immersive play written and performed by Xavier de Sousa. Xavier’s play is an intimate and vocal production that creates a traditionally Portuguese and friendly atmosphere. There’s nothing more accommodating then attending a show that has tasty smells fuming in to your nostrils and discovering different methods of cooking and learning about new ethnic dishes, whilst getting served.
Post is all about joining Xavier at a grand table for some delicious portuguese food and merrily discussing hot topics around the dinner table whilst you eat. Xavier chose four people to voluntarily accompany him at the dining table on set which had a variety of sweet smelling foods such as homemade bread, soup, Green wine and Cachaca, which is a strong Portuguese spirit he served for shots.
Once the beautifully infused scents, tastes and imagery of the set began to feel like a warm heavenly paradise, Xavier was ready to present his questions. After he’d selectively chosen who to be seated around the table to discuss national matters, it got a lot more interesting and compelling. The primal talk was on challenges the nation faces, especially as we are heading towards Brexit.
The semi-focus revolved around factors in political and geographical landscapes. It was great to see Xavier invite down different ethnic groups to the table as this made the show even more crucial to watch. The conversations were far from demoralising to hear as they were all uniquely angled. Answered with the intention to help openly express, relate it individually or encourage significant family memories.
Post is a play that exploits different topics in a safe, non-judgmental environment exploring what it means to be and feel a migrant in this day and age. As well as conforming to a culture to gain acceptance, followed by the exposure of non-friendly and ignorant people, who feel more confident to be openly racist and discriminative towards opposing ethnic minorities during this moment in history.
Xavier did a great job in keeping the humour alive and not excluding the audience by offering and serving food whilst conversations commenced! Xavier defiantly made a great host! Overall Post was fun and engaging to experience as whether you were involved in the conversation or not, the topics were self-identifying to all.
High Rise Estate of Mind is an energetic, reflective, daring, compelling and convicting production; igniting all to come and feel at home in a place you can’t technically call home cause you don’t own the property. Themes explored are the concepts revolving around working twice as hard to ensure you have a roof over your head whilst keeping up with rent costs to prevent eviction and trolling from your landlord.
The city heights is circulated around modern metropolitan living where residency is fluctuating and thoughts are unravelling on demands for expansions on suitable housing. Meanwhile families are left to struggle in their tightly compact apartments, stuck on the waiting list for comfortability, struck with mis-informed implementations in their local area. This production touches on fundamental concepts that depicts the real life living conditions in the UK.
A creative narrative that reflects the modern day reality of the inflicting pain of the housing issue, figuratively told through various elements of rap, spoken word, beatbox and looping. Credibility to the casts; Conrad Murray – Co artistic director, Paul Cree- Co Artistic director, David Bonnick Jr-Associate Artist and Lakeisha Lynch Stevans, they all played on their individual strengths.
This production is an autobiography of the casts personal lives as they enact the challenges and determination of the days they’ve dreamt about leaving the estate. The impersonations in this play truly foretold the relationship between programmed landlords and submissive tenants. Paul Cree had effectively embodied the characteristics of a robot by remaining monotone, dry humoured, insensitive, transparent and unresponsive.
The chemical imbalance of the landlords disfiguration prevented him from emphasising with his tenant when facing potential eviction. Due to the landlords insensitivity you noticed the tenants feelings climaxed to feeling extremely frantic, hurt and punished. This production is a well perceived reality of UK citizens feeling cursed in a dysfunctional system. High Rise Estate tackles angles of life for the majority of people living in estates dealing with unkept communal areas, negligence of maintenance issues and the overall mindset derived from the living conditions in fabricated England.
The Mis-en-scene and set was very simplistic. The casts were dressed identically in all black wearing a hoodie, cap, tracksuit bottoms and shirt, which was great in preventing distractions. Each cast member stood with a mic stand in front of them, this play featured live looping and acoustic playing which made this play even more impactful. Their voices blessing the mic majestically set the mood, tone and effectiveness for the entire show.
This production is so figuratively rich with different music genres and content. The casts evidently wanted to be neutral on stage remaining themselves, which they successfully achieved. This piece also addresses the concerns of many middle aged men and women still living with their parents based on the struggle of affording to move out. High Rise Estate of Mind consists of extremely moving performances, raising awareness by uniquely retelling dimensions of various truths.
High Rise eState of Mind will be showing at Battersea Arts Centre from the 20th – 30th March as part of the Occupy Festival.
Little Echoes is a ninety minute play with no intermission, written by Tom Powell and directed by Stephen Bailey. The show was held at The Hope theatre in partnership with Beyond the Streets, a UK- based charity who partner with women on their journey out of sexual exploitation. With a strong belief that a life is possible beyond sexual exploitation, striving to prevent abuse in pursuit that all women will be safe from coercion, violence and control. Little Echoes took place in a small intimate space and consisted of three cast members; Maisie Preston as (Danielle), Ciara Pouncett as (June) and Michael DeVille as (Shajenthran).
I loved that the seating arrangement had the audience seated around the centre stage. Everyone experienced a different level of intensity depending on what angle you were watching from, however whichever angle you were sat, you were able to capture a significant instillation. The themes explored in this play were naivety, captivity, manipulation, sexual exploitation, deceit, resentment, regret, pain, infatuation and coercion.
This production was well directed. Whenever watching a production that has no intermission it’s vital to contain a multitude of emotionally compelling content that contains sensibility, action, relatable characters, climax, tension and credibility. Little Echoes incredibly migrated all those elements together, combining the essence of multi roleplaying and miniature props, subtle lighting and one dress change of Danielle getting into a grey tracksuit not long after witnessing two girls wearing the same outfit.
Very subtly after she’d seen that, Danielle’s admirer mentioned he’d like for her to get changed as her appearance could be a distraction, to then quickly correcting himself to being a distraction for him. Once Danielle changed her clothes, he commented ‘you look beautiful’ you could hear the negative connotation piercingly. Dannielle’s energy shifting prompted him to take advantage, stimulating her mind to emotionally distract her from the wider picture of what was really going on.
Danielle was brilliantly played by Maise Preston being an extremely relatable character, making her therefore very likeable. Her characteristics were funny, nerdy, naive, quirky, daring, young, wild and free; easily flattered, therefore drawn impulsively to a charming older man giving her attention, highlighting his successful music career and ongoing tours. Dannielle being head over heels and fuelled with lust, made her determined to impress a man she barley knew by pretending to be as into music as he was, hoping to secure a special place in his heart. It was emotionally devastating watching Dannielle repeatedly being taken advantage of, constantly seduced and caressed until she was able to mentally, physically and emotionally be convinced that she didn’t exist when she’d surprisingly open her eyes to find herself with the other girls in the room; recording her.
Every scene was suspenseful, every moment was sentimental and every action correlated to an incident that occurred later on in the play, making every aspect fundamental. The stage was mainly softly spot lit, helping to make the intensity more surreal and impactful to watch. All three actors complimented each other well, bringing high energy and temperament, changing accents and tone of voice to fit into different roles simultaneously.
It was impressing to see all three actors who’d been narrating and foretelling their own individual stories connect towards the end of the play. Towards the end you witness a torn unison of vulnerability, helplessness and victimisation. All three individuals were brutally hurt, attacked tragically in an artificial world that left division, confusion and a cliff hanger of the unknown. Little Echoes connectivity is profound and compelling. A well structured play that was extremely simplistic but yet fused with vitality and mental stimulation. Jumbo Pact with an imperative message that raised awareness to the severity of Sexual exploitation.
Watching Valentine’s Day & Musical Theatre organised by LCP Dance Theatre; founded by dancer and choreographer Joanna Puchala was a fabulous experience to be in the mists of. The show was held at The Lodge space in collaboration with Social Arts Festival and Flow move. It was a space that contained admiration for true talent; migrating an organic richness and respect for the artist’s craft, which was mind-blowing and well deserved. You could not hear a pin drop in the space, every performer engaged the audience’s attention as they performed with grace and authenticity. They had all individually tailored their work to project their personal or moral views or foretell a story from their perspective. This was done with pure sincerity as we could only imagine the depth of sweat, blood and tears it took to develop and construct such masterpiece’s, to ensure the smooth runnings of the different timed pieces showcased. These consisted of Modern Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Aerial Dance, Martial Arts and Musical Theatre.
Valentine’s Day & Musical Theatre had kicked off with dancers Ranja Kasemi & Mia Aurora Windern infusing sensations of animal locomotion, Budokon yoga and contemporary pole dancing intertwined. This production brilliantly flowed as the artistic creativity of audible sounds of heavy panting and breathing of a wild, warm blooded mammal played. The girls majestically maintained the manifestation of distinctive characteristics of a wild animal’s physicality moves, sensory and mannerisms. Radiating the unconditional love we as human entities should posses for wild nature, and the creatures that exist within it. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mia Aurora Windern after the show who shared with me that her idea’s were stimulated around the conveying of the division of nutrients and water optimally on tree’s during their process of photosynthesis and how the mentality to nurture wildlife and respect nature would mean trees could grow into the best of their ability.
Their production began with epic, gripping fluidity & flexibility. The duration of their set was charismatically breathtaking as well as pulsating. Their act featured all tricks and momentum of sensual swinging and circular motions of exhilaration as they pranced on and around the pole. The duet contained a fusion of delicacy, intensity and abstract diversity throughout; soundlessly piercing hearts as the synchronisation, definition within their muscular arms revealed their upper body and core strength and brought a sense of humility as they presented dignified, strong upper body swings. The tempo of the ambience engaged in with their rhythm, balancing whilst remaining in character mode throughout. These girls brilliantly set the mood for what followed next I felt. They interestingly wore a mask made out of Christmas pine tree, resonating messages of life, forest and the benefit of animals dwelling in their natural habit without feeling or being endangered by human destruction.
Followed next was a dancer named Dianna Mukalere, whom again was a strikingly powerful and empowering artist. Her contemporary intuitive dance told a story of an inner identity remaining cool, calm and collective. She engaged with a pink, satin scarf to her piece. As it flowed it added a courageous wave that added a warming assentive and drive force enchanting magic, elegance and fluctuation. As she continued to move in a circular motion operating in different directions, decelerating honesty, vulnerability and love. This piece amazingly incorporated spoken word, the usage of different mediums meant that she kept everyone’s attention fixated on her act without blinking. It was a very enchanting, stylish expression of circulating movement of the body and wellbeing of living in harmony within yourself and feeling at one with yourself as a whole internally and externally.
The third performance foretold the narrative of love in different aspects. Signalling true beauty and significance of modern Ballet. The contemporary ballet consisted of two duets both of which was sincere and genuine. As the dancers conveyed well structured, highly engaging and beautiful tales of a love story. The amount of emotion that bounced off in frequencies was unreal, in depth passion for romance and the embracing of two individuals coming together in unison offering strength and joy. Wonderfully played by the featuring casts; Briar Adams, Daniel Rodriguez, Marion Edmond & Lance Collins.
Valentine’s Day & Musical Theatre in it’s entirety was unique and authentic. A solo performer by the name of Frances Kartz gave an outstanding contemporary performance which consisted of Martial Arts, storytelling a tale of movement and skill. France’s body language for the awakening of a brave and powerful soul, sparkled the search of love, faith and courage. Combining grace & precision which brought fire and gloss to her act. Prior we’d seen Deliah Seefluth with an exceptionally strong and strengthening contemporary dance. And Victoria Howden with a solo musical theatre set, lasting for twenty-five minutes. It was a biography of her life story which the audience couldn’t help but sing along to, her unique, talented piece featured comedy, story telling and singing. Her all time favourite musical anthems were narrated to convey a more corny, sensual, humorous version as her dreams turned into a life story before our very own eyes. Victoria Howden was completely unexpected and pulled off a fabulously, daring re-enactment of her life as a musical in an realistic world of course.
The LCP Dance Theatre company performed an Ariel contemporary Dance, this being the final act of the night. A brilliantly choreographed, twenty-five minute quintet. This was a beautiful way to end as it was representing the physical and mental state of our conscious mindsets whilst being broken hearted. This fabulous piece explored the different phases of pure love, betrayal, lost trust and struggle to forgive and finally becoming friends. This transformation of a passionate love leading to friendship, mutual understanding and compassion towards one another was sensational and truly well put together. Featuring the casts Lynn Dichon, Juan Sanchez Plaza, Leoni Amandin, Natasha Lee and Joanna Puchala. Was a wonderful way to end the show, the order of the shows were all so different. And achieved the objective of conveying emotion simultaneously through dance and performance.
Van Gogh on the Beach is a tale of Vincent’s love, art and heart in Lost Angels written and performed by talented Jahmar Ngozi. Van Gogh on the Beach fuses together a blend of poetry, drama, dance and art, where the Great Vincent Van Gogh exploits, highlighting his infatuation for an enthusiastic, endowing sexually elevated women and of course his passion and gift for his artsy, God given gift.
The time period of Van Gogh on the beach is Set in Los Angeles during the buzzing, booming century of the 80’s/90’s, where they’re seen in the play rocking out vintage, classy and sleek dress wear and suits, smoking cigars and remaining optimistic when feeling drained from a bruised community, as they expand on the stigma of artists only associating with their respective peers. However, through all of that heat a cool breeze shifts the air as they seek a solution to the problem. Expanding into the era when the enlightenment of art was detached from anything that bound it, acknowledging that art is an expression of anything you allow it to be.
Van Gogh on the beach is a fantastic, historical admiring play that’s full of energy, powerful words and heartfelt scenes. This play channels the excitement of jazz, spoken word, passion, romance and the importance of art. The overall production is cultural, eloquent and historical as you travel through the journey of different lives that contain factual, fantasy and inspirational entertaining content. A well presented show, as Van Gogh on the beach is extremely engaging and exhilarating to watch.
Dogmatic is an extremely interactive, intimate and outspoken play; written and performed by energetic and innovative playwright Jamal Gerald. Dogmatic is a play that has no filter, sugar coating or beating around the bush. His topics and discussions are raw, challenging and insightful; giving you an opportunity to express your inner thoughts and listen to other people’s perspectives. It was interesting to see people slowly coming out of their shell after being told by Jamal it was a non-judgmental environment and highlighting that there was no right or wrong answers to his questions. Although most people felt uneasy to speak out originally, the audience became less irrespective of the context of the matters eventually, dissecting the dilemma’s presented and focusing on conflicting political issues in the UK.
Jamal’s performance exploits fundamental racial issues. Jamal steps out of his comfort zone to re-visit different phases in his life where he felt threatened, misguided and unprotected showing us six different cardboard writings. Whilst also discussing complexities such as if violence towards a Nazi is acceptable if facing just verbal attacks and the effects of being told by two white females at a black lives matter protest that they were sorry written out on cardboard. To help the audience envision the moment and feel the same effects he felt he choose two white females in the audience to hold up cardboard which read ‘We are Sorry’.
Dogmatic featured many stimulating, radiating acts. Interestingly, with the help of Jamal’s Artistic Director we witnessed a chalk outline of his body on the floor. The play began with his body positioned and engraved in the spot, depicting a meticulous precision of a victims death at a murder scene. It was obvious Jamal was symbolising a synonymous term with a tragic death. There was flowers in vases and candles around the space which stimulated a grief condolence, presenting remorse of a gone to soon life. Different video’s projected were used to help erupt further discussions to the audience. Everyone was respectful of everyone’s different opinions and personal views on race, social injustice, treatment and white privilege. However, i’m sure if they weren’t Jamal would of done a great job ensuring conservations didn’t spiral into a debate.
Dogmatic is daring, enlightening and unapologetic. The featuring of cushions with two different loaf of cakes became transparent to me once the play had ended. I suppose for such a heavy, informative play, it could be conceived as overwhelming and discomforting so to balance it out Jamal choose to create an intimate setting too in hope that moods and emotions would ascend as smoothly as his play did, and I’m happy to say the plan had worked indeed.
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