Fact or fiction?: Siu Hun Li (Fake Mao), Stephen Hoo (Fake Mao) and Rebecca Boey (Fake Mao). Photo: Nobby Clark
Theatre: Arcola Theatre
Play: The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie
Playwright: Anders Lustgarten
Director: Steven Atkinson
Review by Arani Yogadeva
This epic tale, tracing the formation of modern China through the stages of revolution, has urgent relevance to the world now.
Game playing: Pepter Lunkuse (Cordelia) and Don Warrington (King Lear). Picture credit: Jonathan Keenan
Theatre: Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Play: King Lear
Playwright: William Shakespeare
Director: Michael Buffong
Review by Carl Palmer
Such was the excited anticipation surrounding Don Warrington’s version of King Lear, the erstwhile ruler deranged by family treachery, that I feared for the man taking on his professed Mount Everest of classical roles. Yet when Warrington steps onto the stage, clad in impressive period costume, he looks as if he is born to play Shakespeare’s ill-fated king.
In the first of a three part series on African sci-fi, self published author Tosin Coker reveals that she had no plans to be a writer, or to write for the genre. Yet a challenge set by a friend to write 2000 words on random topics led to the creation of her first book in a five part series The Mouth of Babes. Coker explains her unconventional writing journey, why Octavia E. Butler is her role model and why she isn’t wholly comfortable with the label African sci-fi writer.
Ishy Din‘s journey to his now fruitful and award-winning writing career would make a great script. After a series of unsuccessful attempts at being a businessman, and while driving a cab in his hometown of Middlesbrough, he stumbled across writing, aged 34. His first attempt, a radio play called John Barnes Saved My Life, which he entered for a BBC competition, won and pocketed him £200. Since then, he hasn’t looked back. His play Snookered, produced by Tamasha/Oldham Coliseum/The Bush, toured in 2012. That same year he was the Pearson Writer in Residence at the Manchester Royal Exchange and in 2013 Snookered won Best New Play at the Manchester Theatre Awards.
Lost in space: Ria Zmitrowicz (Mattie) and Jessica Raine (Gilda). Picture credit: Manuel Harlan
Theatre: Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court
Playwright: Alistair McDowall
Director: Vicky Featherstone
Review by Arani Yogadeva
Time, memory, loneliness, loss and love contort and shape-shift in Alistair McDowall’s dystopian psychological-fiction play.
Book: No More Heroes
Author: Stephen Thompson
Publisher: Jacaranda Books
Review by Reshma Ruia
No More Heroes is a bold and ambitious work by a writer who exposes with passion and conviction, the challenges facing young black men in contemporary Britain.
Snehal Amembal‘s love of South Asian fiction became ingrained after years of being exposed to great Western authors, including Agatha Christie and Jane Austen. This love affair led her to take the plunge and launch a blog devoted to celebrating the genre. Amembal reveals how public libraries in the UK fostered her understanding of the genre and why she is determined to preserve the writing of South Asian authors for future generations.
Don Warrington is the mellifluous voice behind countless TV and radio ads, and is a leading stage name and screen veteran. As Joe Keller in Talawa Theatre Company’s all-black revival of Arthur Miller’s tragedy All My Sons, he was described as “flawless”. Despite the praise, Warrington tells Carl Palmer he’s never been one to rest on his laurels, and explains why his current role as Shakespeare’s King Lear is as much of a mountain to climb as Strictly Come Dancing was in prising him out of his comfort zone.
Book: Closure: Contemporary Black British Short Stories
Editor: Jacob Ross
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press
Review by Catrina Walters
Closure is a riveting anthology filled with talented published Black British writers, including Fred D’Aguiar (The Lonely Londoner) and Bernardine Evaristo (The Emperor’s Babe) who feature alongside emerging writers. The theme of human strife permeates the book and the stories take you through a world of emotions – from elation to sadness.
Strained relations: Danny Sapani (Tshembe Matoseh) and Gary Beadle (Abioseh Matoseh). Photo credit: Johan Persson
Theatre: National Theatre
Play: Les Blancs
Playwright: Lorraine Hansberry
Director: Yaël Farber
Review by Irenosen Okojie
Les Blancs, Lorraine Hansberry’s largely unknown play, is an ambitious, geographically sweeping and provocative masterpiece on the ramifications of colonialism, and the power of revolution.
Who’s who?: Haley McGee (Deborah), Mia Soteriou (Ila) and Anjali Mya Chadha (Ayesha). Photo credit: Mark Douet
Theatre: The Yard Theatre
Play: Made Visible
Playwright: Deborah Pearson
Director: Stella Odunlami
Review by Irenosen Okojie
Deborah Pearson’s new play Made Visible at The Yard Theatre is an uncompromising and uncomfortable look at race through her lens as a white, middle class, well-travelled and educated woman.