Monday, July 15

My Father’s Fable – Bush Theatre

Faith Omole’ first produced play is a real cracker. It tells the story of Peace, a young black woman of Nigerian descent, who is living with her partner Roy, a mixed heritage man, in their comfortable middle-class home in England. Their lives are disrupted when Bolu, Peace’s half-brother from Nigeria of whom she was not previously aware, contacts her via social media and comes to England to stay with them. The domestic situation is further complicated by the fact that Peace’s mother, Favour, also arrives, ostensibly ill and needing to be looked after.

The play then becomes a fascinating psychological thriller as the four characters interact.   Mysteries and suspicions abound.  Who actually is Bolu? And why did he come to the UK at this time?  Why does Favour take such an instant dislike to him?

Faith Omole’s writing is tense and naturalistic and brilliantly delivered by the four strong cast. Thoe Ogundipe is outstanding as the outsider Bolu. Tiwa Lade and Gabriel Akuwudike make a very good couple working through the normal problems that people in a relationship have. Rakie Ayole played the manipulative and passive agressive mother with such skill that I was tempted to shout out at her duplicity from my seat!

Photo: Manuel Harlan

Staged in the Bush Theatre’s Holloway Theatre with the audience on three sides, the set was an impressive creation of a modern comfortable house with kitchen, dining and seating areas.

The play was extremely engaging throughout, with twists and turns at every opportunity keeping the audience guessing as to what was actually going on, until the very last twist. The audience on press night was clearly extremely involved and thoroughly enjoying it.

There was however one major flaw with the production, and that was its audibility. The cast often spoke in quite low tones and when, as often happens in a production with the audience on several sides, the cast members have their backs to part of the audience, I was struggling to hear what the actors were saying even though none of the seats were far away from the acting area. The dialogue during the play’s finale was almost entirely drowned out by music. Also, the recorded voice of the father, which plays quite an important part in the story, was largely unintelligible. This is something that the cast and the director need to address. The ability of the audience to hear the cast is fundamental in live theatre and unfortunately marred what was otherwise an excellent production.

Reviewer: Paul Ackroyd

Reviewed: 21st June 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.