Fusing physical theatre, African storytelling and a capella singing, director Felix Cross has crafted a visually absorbing musical play, putting across Adebayo’s message with humour and pathos.
Emmanuel Idowu as Soldier Boy makes a convincing hoody, both charming and yet full of teenage angst. Idowu’s scenes with Femi Ogunbanjo as the Desert Man gives the play its centre and the two actors work extremely well together as they travel through time and try to discover where things began to go wrong.
There is strong support from Maureen Hibbert as Soldier Boy’s despondent mother and a particularly touching performance by Elexi Walker as the young African American slave girl.
Jay Marsh completes the ensemble cast providing us with a particularly nasty gang leader and a strong base beat for the singing.
The historic violence of the past in pre-revolution America, early Australia and the injustices of the British legal system blend all too easily with the violence on the inner city streets of south London and the revelation behind Soldier Boy’s stabbing is enlightening.
By Paul Vale
Thursday 6 May 2010