Seen at the Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol.
A genuinely brilliant piece of theatre that doesn’t shy away from some of harshest topics – systemic racism, mental health, homophobia, domestic abuse and violence. It’s a conversation long overdue and powerfully addressed in Daniel J Carver’s play.
This is really a love story centring on three Black male generations of a family of Jamaican descent – who are up holed up together in Sidney’s Caribbean restaurant ‘Loveit’. They are sheltering from the riots outside in Birmingham city centre after a police incident leaves a young man (and friend of the family) fighting for his life in hospital.
While the violence rises outside the café walls, family tensions build inside as the three men grandfather Sidney (Everal A Walsh), Malcolm (Daniel J Carver) and Luther (Dylan Brady) talk in a way they never have before. The love between Grandfather and grandson is clear and it becomes a source of anger for Malcom who harbours resentment for his father’s long absence for a period in his young life.
The tension is palpable as these characters negotiate the ebb and flow of the nights events – external and internal. Lurching from anger and violence to laughter and warmth this is truly a revealing insight of three black men as they reveal some of their deepest truths and share long-held secrets. It’s a challenging piece of theatre, with exquisitely executed performances by all three actors
Expect to be shocked, expect to laugh and to cry and expect to be stunned into slience at times at the power of this storytelling.
The Tobacco Factory initiative – Share the Story is commendable in opening up this production to new audiences and people of diverse backgrounds with ‘pay what you choose’ tickets on Monday and financial difficulty concessions for those in need and free tickets for any young people who can’t otherwise attend.