Tanica Psalmist

My name is Tanica Psalmist. I'm a spoken word artist, emerging playwright and theatre critic.

Review Little Echoes by Tanica Psalmist

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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.

Valentine’s day And Musical Theatre REVIEW BY TANICA PSALMIST

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. 

Review Van Gogh on the Beach by Poetry House review by Tanica Psalmist

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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.

Tanica Psalmist

 

Review Dogmatic, Camden People’s Theatre by Tanica Psalmist

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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.

Tanica Psalmist

Review Candid by Tanica Psalmist- Canada Water Theatre

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Candid is performed and written by Aaron Lambert, the play foretells Aaron Lamberts internal story from when he was a boy developing in to a young man finding herself, feeling disconnected to society due to affiliated labels of homosexuals by judgmental critics in his community and around the world. We see how the fate of past homosexual artists, activists, leaders and playwrights was a gateway for him to not live up to expectations from society, but redeem strength  from their efforts to be an overcomer. His performance cultivates awareness of a captivating society that’s held within a social culture, easily lost and withdrawn from the torment inflicted in to young, homosexual black males, who may also be struggling to adjust to life, fitting into stereotypes.

Candid is a personal, emotionally engaging solo play. An autobiographical journey expressing discrimination, family acceptance, school struggles, judgments and how being a homosexual, black male provokes the fear of coming out even worse. This play is a testimonial in to what homosexual  individuals’ life can detect growing up unsupported, alone, feeling detached from home, social life and school feeing different and ashamed with deserted family members.

This production contained documented footage of various people speaking out on the matter via BBC documentaries and  radio host shows. Aaron smartly used the recordings to make remarks on past victims who have had their lives lost too soon through murder in the States, England and Jamaica.

Candid is fused with dance, projections, taboos and examining biblical scriptures which plays a part in the foundation of the matter.    This production is enticed with intimate real life moments and genuine emotions.

 

Tanica Psalmist.

Review Hoes, Hampstead Theatre by Tanica Psalmist

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Hoes written by Ifeyinwa Frederick and directed by Lakesha Arie-Angelo is about three sensational, charismatic ladies who explore an exotic holiday out in Ibiza. You depict an exact insight into how it feels to be attractive, young, wild and free with a flamboyant nature; played brilliantly by Areatha Ayeh, Marieme Diouf and Nicola Maisie Taylor. Their holiday is a getaway from all stress, work related ties, repetition, relationship restrictions, family complications and disorientation. Hysterically anytime the character J was caught using her work phone, she needed to donate at least a quid, this was because she made an oath she wasn’t going to indulge in business related enquires until she arrived back home, so when she’s caught there’s cash to be handed over.

The character Bim makes it clear she’s on holiday to let her hair down, drink like there’s no tomorrow, take shots for breakfast, cure hangovers with more alcohol, party every night and cater to her thirsty vagina, as sex has no limits. As a female she declares there’s no shame if you want to enjoy the fun, erotic nature of sexual intercourse, be intimate with whomever you’re attracted to, and dress as provocatively as you please to flaunt your curves and your treasured assets.

Bim highlights that woman should embrace the divine beauty given to womanly Goddesses, and therefore shouldn’t feel ashamed to do as they please with their body. The audience had taken a strong liking to the character Bim as she is shamelessly hysterical, constantly throwing sexual innuendos, loud, and not afraid to speak her mind. Bim is an example of a confident, sassy alcoholic guru who’s a freak in the bedroom and straight class on the streets.

All three girls appear free spirited and high spirited twenty-four hours of the day, so it was concerning when occasionally character Bim would present characteristics of emotional disorder, anxiety, depression with abusive threatening swings at herself when she was solo in the room, unaccompanied. She would then suddenly transition, putting on a façade, smile impulsively, continuing to amuse and entertain simultaneously and disguise how upset, unsettled and anxious she internally felt when her friends were around, until they walk in on her startled by what they witness.

Hoes is a testament of resilience, exposure and the power of freedom. The production was set as a bedroom and smoothly transitioned to convey various scenes of them waking up from a night out with a hangover and getting ready prior to a wild night, fitting into dresses, pampering their faces and pre-drinking. All the scenes were extremely tight and epic, continuously spiralling new elements that were gripping, funny, relatable and incredibly moving.

Hoes is themed around women empowerment, mental health, value of single-hood and sisterhood, compassion, deeper understanding of self, feeling powerless, difficulties of being in a relationship and feeling you’re missing out and the crucial factors of support. Writer Ifeyinwa Frederick’s had mentioned her debut play focuses on the insecurities of women today. Elements within her playwright root from conflicting perspectives she has seen and identified, which encouraged her to elaborate on it. Hoes is a meaningful expression of minds and attitude existing in the nineteenth century, a very well put together and constructed play.

Tanica Psalmist

Sweet like Chocolate Boy review by Tanica Psalmist- Jack Studio theatre

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Sweet like Chocolate Boy by Triston Fynn Aiduenu is a remarkable, animated and innovative play; containing infatuating and exhilarating factors exploited. The casts Andrew Umerah, Alice Fofana, Michael Levi Fatogun and Veronica Beatrice Lewis had all done a fantastic job playing various characters. They explored themes of love, racism, police intimidation, ghetto and posh differentiations and similarities, embarking on the stigmas attached when referred to as a bounty.

I managed to speak with the director Triston, to get an insight into the origin of the idea of having the casts play different roles. Fortunately, he touched on this element mentioning how it was based on him wanting different members of the audience to affiliate themselves with a particular character and see qualities that resonated. I then asked Triston why personal identification conveyed through characterisation was an aspect he explored. Triston replied saying that through people seeing traits that connected with them personally, it would not only be more relatable but also create a more realistic perception of a recognisable world we know and live in.

Sweet like Chocolate boy is an unapologetic production, examining aspects of real lie scenarios. The different dynamics shown is Black empowerment, spiritual connectivity and the importance of healthy bonds between the youth and parent’s with the effects of how not having that bond reciprocates negative effects on the mind and triggers emotional instability. The play also showed the dynamic of having domineering low-key racist friends and the consequences erupted through being too trusting of them.

The production touched base with the fundamental values of sisterhood, brotherhood, upbringing and the guidance from elders foretelling the pros and cons of how their impact stimulates the youth’s conscious mind and will wild out if not tamed. The incorporation of subtle physical theatre movements was used to express their internal nature, power and freedom; enchanting a sense of ease as well as mental, spiritual and emotional stability.

One of the interesting elements was the presence of a God, divine energy representative. She remained stood in front of boxes throughout the entire production which changed colours when reflecting differing moods or tension. The huge boxes surrounding her lit up to these beautiful, graceful colours, her role was transparent as she hovered her arms over the boxes, constantly moving her arms in a mysterious, majestic way. Her facial expressions reflected her thoughts allowing the audience to sense how she felt during a scene, highlighting all crucial moments.

Sweet like Chocolate Boy is daring and enticing. Each scene contains high energy fused with scenes that’s emotional and fundamental as a fabricated England is shown reflecting life living in an estate. This  play is extremely entertaining as it features scenes filled with sexual innuendos, soulful, remixed garage music encouraging the audience to sing along, making Sweet like Chocolate Boy brilliantly distinctive, enjoyable and hysterical to watch.

Tanica Psalmist.

Review for The Laud of the Rings by Tanica Psalmist – Camden People’s Theatre

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Josh Gardner’s unique story-telling production entails mix documentation and an anarchic approach to performance. Josh elaborates on privilege and migration through the use of absurd. A space where he isn’t afraid of breaking the fourth wall or going against theatre rules or maintaining his dry humour which not everyone gets but it seemed he purposely wanted to convey that aspect to his character. The Laud of the rings tells the tale of Josh wanting to save Europe by re-enacting Frodo’s journey to Mordor, travelling from Oxford to Istanbul dressed as a hobbit.

The Laud of the Rings is a captivating and provocative performance that follows desperate attempts to live out a fantasy world in a black wig, plastic feet and have an encounter with a Serbian border police officer, as reality and fiction collide in an epic re-make of The Lord of the Rings.

The production is very immersive, it became intriguing when he would climb into the audiences space to sit among them, get the audiences participation by choosing individually who to read out his scripts and jumping on to the stage to blow up a giant, plastic sphere with a noisy air compressor.

There’s episodes where Josh risks the use of being ‘disorganised throughout his performance’ and scatty with minor control on stage, especially as he leaves the theatre nowhere to been seen again, leaving the audience members no opportunity to properly applaud, some audience members went off to find him in the giant, plastic sphere rolling around outside.

Laud Of The Rings is slightly weird, funny and slightly unsettling. It can take a lot for you to laugh, grasp the concept of his character and relate to the emotions of his character sincerely. Josh for me is a man with a gift for deadpan humor, not knowing if he was being generally serious or not made his act original, as he wasn’t scared to be daring or challenging.

 

Review for Coat by Tanica Psalmist – Albany Theatre

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Coat is a solo play performed and written by Yomi Sode. Coat exhibits Yomi’s life growing up as an English citizen with Nigerian descent. What better way to not only present a personal autobiography reflective of his life, but also create sensory through delicious smells to escort the audiences mind in to Yomi’s world.

The layout of the set was an interior design kitchen, featuring compartments as well as electric hobs installed to embody a stove; where he prepped his basmati rice, tomato stew and marinated chicken breasts. The aromatic smells majestically presented the feel of an enticing household, with a kitchen surface fused with ingredients ready to cook with. As the sweet smelling aromas emitted into the atmosphere with smoke ascending from the pots steaming into Yomi’s face, he stood there smiling to himself in the mists of his busy environment slicing, stirring and calling out to his mum for her acknowledgment.

Coat explores the themes of identity, belonging and origin, documenting real life scenario’s and issues growing up in London. When you’re not entirely understood, shown appreciation of your cultural differences, underrepresented in the media, being an ethnic minority in your school so frequently hear miss-pronunciation’s of your name when called by the tutor, leading to mockery and ignorance from peers, not realising the emotional damage it causes. Ashamed of being seen wearing traditional dress wear, feeling convicted when confronted and being contradicting when questioned to whether he’d identified as a Black British, a Londoner or as a Nigerian. Confused, misguided and unappreciated when he does answer and having respect lost and feeling detached from himself.

Not black enough when living in the UK, not African enough for not speaking the Native tongue and facing flaws of not feeling man enough. The narrative in Coat did a good job in portraying mental conflict, emotional battles and the complications of juggling two cultures. A production reflecting personal insight in to Yomi’s tradition and up-bringing from a boy into a man by his mum; reaching a state of appreciating how to cook a traditional dish, receive acknowledgment from his mum and peace of mind once he knows who he is and where he’s from.

Coat is hysterical as Yomi uses multi-rolling techniques to impersonate several roles brilliantly including his mother, marked by the changing of voices, movement, gesture and body language.  An organically humorous and culturally entertaining, emotionally impacting play, that’s full of relatable, iconic scenes with incorporated elements of spoken word.

 

 

Tanica Psalmist

It Tastes Like Home, Divergent Theatre Collective, The Bread and Roses Theatre by Tanica Psalmist

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Dim sum dumplings with Jerk chicken, Jerk chicken in dim sum dumplings with Plantain; two different worlds come together with fusions of oriental spices and Jamaican entices. A tale of relatable sacrifices and connections made via online devices.

It Tastes Like Home is written by Lorna Wells, music by Eudora Yutong Qiuo; is fused with Reggae and Chinese influences.

Two well cultured people connect to reflect a cooking career as a chef. Curry goat with egg fried rice sparkles a seasoned, yummy paradise. Inspiring them to exercise their passion for food with the hope to one day see their desires breakthrough. The character Yi who’s of Chinese descent consistently wears a mysterious mask to disguise himself whenever he’s doing his online reviews; meanwhile Camillia from Jamaican descent consistently tunes in to watch his channel whenever he’s online updating the world on his parents new upcoming authentic dishes. Camillia is oblivious to the fact she’s a regular customer to the anonymous bloggers diner; however Yi is aware of who she is, which gives this play an hysterical twist. His attraction to the Island girl increases daily but he decides to remain secretive about it, acknowledging that he may not receive his parents approval. We see an insight into  two different culture’s traditions, stereotypes and complexities.

A beautiful tale of two worlds in one life, themed around interracial relationships, intertwined culture, family standards, biracial acceptance, Identity and family disputes. An emotional cycle of when harmony fulfils happiness and morals and passion are stirred together. A multicultural musical exploiting the first generations of British citizens from different ethnic origins, searching for hope and belonging.

Tanica Psamist