This Is Black – Double Bill I: Blue Beneath My Skin & All the Shit I Can’t Say to My Dad at the Bunker
Featuring four new plays by emerging black writers, Steven Kavuma’s This Is Black is a highly anticipated festival that promises to be a success. The first part of the festival, Double Bill I, presents highly passionate and thoughtful performances of two one-handers, which leave plenty of room for thought.
Written by and starring Macadie Amoroso, Blue Beneath My Skin features the life story of a 17-year-old mixed-race girl who dreams of becoming a fashion designer, but who frequently encounters setbacks through an onslaught of sexism and racism. Amoroso’s acting is top-notch and full of soul, never failing to be convincing even for a single moment. The writing, too, is very strong for the most part – although the occasional irregular use of rhyme, probably a leftover from spoken-word-poetry, does mar the overall presentation somewhat. Plot-wise, the ending also feels rather forced and unlikely. But these minor hiccups are hardly detrimental to an otherwise outstanding performance, which takes a particularly fascinating point of view in exploring racial tensions and questions of identity when being of a mixed heritage.
Abraham Adeyemi’s All the Shit I Can’t Say to my Dad shows the young artist AK who has gone home to work on his debut album in peace, away from the eyes of a prying studio. Suffering from severe daddy issues – his late father having abandoned him at an earlier point in his life – he decides to address his songs to the patriarch. The true star of this piece is undoubtedly the writing, which ignites the audience throughout. There is absolutely nothing to take issue with – the work is charming, believable, subtle, full of style, and the pacing moves flawlessly between humorous and serious moments. Raising important questions of belonging and atonement, healing through creative endeavours and the importance of forgiveness, Adeyemi’s play is a hit of a one-hander that certainly deserves plenty of recognition.
Taken together, these plays represent a particularly strong opening for the festival. With lots of wit and good writing, heartfelt stories and two genuinely powerful actors who win over the hearts and minds of the audience from the start, one can only look forward to the future of This Is Black.
Photo: Korey J Ryan
This Is Black – Double Bill I: Blue Beneath My Skin & All the Shit I Can’t Say to my Dad is at the Bunker from 5th until 25th August 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.