The epic adventure of black theatre in London

Nhamo_webSo last night I was invited to a press night of a new black play. I’m not going to lie, I was really pissed off. Monday is my standard training night and I was missing it to watch yet another mediocre stage production in the name of black solidarity. But I had been invited and reminding myself that it could mean that I could get a take away on the way home I dressed up and headed on over to the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn. I was going to see The Epic Adventure of Nhamo the Manyika Warrior and his Sexy Wife Chipo.

I’d seen the trailer and the actors were funny but that didn’t mean the play was going to be any good. We’ve all been to see stars we love in bad productions. Can you tell that my expectations were low? But then I remembered that it was a Tiata Fahodzi production. They’re not shoddy.

What can you expect. Well, it’s a play within a story. It’s a post-modern fairy tale told for modern times with a commentary on the capitalisation of storytelling. But most of all it’s hilarious. I didn’t want to laugh. I was still annoyed that the over ground was running late and I had to watch the first 10 minutes on a bad screen. (NB:  To those that love African time, this is not that sort of theatre. Be there early or you’ll miss the African time joke.)

I don’t want to kill it for anyone but it’s really good. I say this with trepidation as those that know me Nhamo Cast1 (Omoloja) crpknow that I rarely like much on the British art scene. Maybe it’s because it’s written by an African but with a Western cynical humour that speaks to all of the audience? We were booing, oohing, aaahing and yaying along with the best of them. Just go and see it and tell me what you think. It’s a short run ending on the 17th August unless it gets extended which it should. Theatre gods are you listening?

My minor gripe may be the over exaggerated accent of the female lead. I’m being overly sensitive being Southern African but it didn’t mesh with the other accents at all. I don’t know why accents are my pet peeve but there you have it.  This one was good but a tad too grating. She was funny though and her part well written.

And so I walked away from the joys of Kilburn High Street (the street drinkers are getting quite specific as to how much change they want. £1.50) with a smile on my face, a full belly (you’ve gotta love a press night which has well-cooked plantain on the table) and the promise of seeing it all again on the 16th with Altonative. Call the Tricycle for the 16th, passcode ALTONATIVE and the tickets are only £14. Or just go. Whenever. Pay full price and stop being a cheapskate. I know, don’t thank me. Just come and have a laugh. This is good, well written, comedy theatre, not good black theatre and that my precious is definitely worth seeing. oh and did I mention there is loads of male chest nudity? And that it was directed by Lucian Msamati (Game of Thrones)…..yeah, thought that may be the sell.


© Chelsea Black

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