Hoard at Arcola Theatre
Family matters can take up a lot of room. For the Bakares, the material occupation of space is the actual suffocating problem. Bim Adewunmi’s debut play Hoard is a resounding production about family, love and the messy stuff in between, vividly evoked through a good dose of fun and some energetic performances.
Bili (Kemi Durosinmi) introduces her new boyfriend, the American Brian (Tyler Fayose), to her sisters. Their mother (Ellen Thomas) unexpectedly knocks at the door for a visit. Finding her daughter’s date in the flat and deeply offended for not having been informed earlier about him, Wura is faced by the united front of the three siblings. As the girls are ready to point at the faults of their parent, one of them, though, seems to be particularly angrier than the others.
The play quickly takes off, with all the characters contributing to a sustained pace. The atmosphere, very light and cheerful at the beginning, transforms in a more intense environment with the arrival of the mother. Thomas, with sturdy postures and eloquent gestures, manages to make a partial comedy out of the drama.
The unresolved dispute stemming from a lack of understanding between parents and their children is here investigated, turned inside out and vehemently fought. Unfortunately, no major steps are made from either direction, and as such, the show resembles reality, despite some exchanges which may sound quite idealistic. Feelings and dreams are drawn more and more into the conversation as the mother reclaims her rights to live her own life, without too much syllogism about the influence she has on her daughters.
The desire to physically represent the distance between the characters is too dominant, with the actresses taking diametrical spots in the corners when strong points are made: the arranged positions often do not match the natural flow of the discussion. The talking is prolonged, but kept up by powerful interactions, which Elizabeth Ita, who plays Rafi, seems to master. The threads are kept concise in one hour, appropriately leaving out possible extra narration.
A special mention goes to Fayose, who totally and fluidly embraces American manners, also including an enjoyable dance moment.
Photo: Lidia Crisafulli
Hoard is at Arcola Theatre from 15th May until 8th June 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.