The Selma march: Corey Reynolds (Rev. C.T. Vivian), David Oyelowo (Martin Luther King Jr) and Colman Domingo (Ralph Abernathy)
Director: Ava DuVernay
Screenplay: Paul Webb
Review by Joy Francis
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr is a global legend; a man whose powerfully eloquent words still resonate today, across all ages and races. So director Ava DuVernay’s attempt to immortalise his life on screen will be subject to intense scrutiny to decide whether she is a safe pair of hands to reflect his legacy.
Brothers up in arms: Malachi Kirby (Yemi) and O.C. Ukeje (Iku)
Film: Gone Too Far!
Director: Destiny Ekaragha
Screenplay: Bola Agbaje
Review by Christopher Johnson
Director Destiny Ekaragha’s feature debut Gone Too Far!, based on the award winning stage play by British-Nigerian writer Bola Agbaje, raises some serious questions about race and culture in modern day Britain.
The Jaipur Literature Festival attracts many ‘want-to-be-published’ writers, but the scale of the event is immense. I was among the 245,000 people estimated to have attended the five-day celebration of books and writers, held annually since 2008 in the historic grounds of Diggi Palace.
Tian Glasgow’s Changing State is a darkly comic coming-of-age story set in inner city London. Three of the characters cling to the hope that the uncertainty and confusion of adolescence will clear, but having returned from university one of them knows that it is a long road ahead. As they each try to realise their ambitions, they must confront that mistakes (big and small) are the only way forward. Changing State is another stylised performance piece brought to you by New Slang Productions team. It’s the company’s second full production since Silver Shores (2012) staged in the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden.
Date: 3-14 February 2015
Venue : Hen & Chickens Theatre, 109 St Paul’s Rd, London N1 2NA
Time: 7pm (2.30pm Saturday matinee) | 90 minutes duration
Price: £13.50 (£10 concessions)
Box Office: www.unrestrictedview.co.uk
The critically acclaimed True Brits, written by Vinay Patel and directed by Tanith Lindon, will headline the VAULT Festival 2015 after two sold out preview performances at the Bush’s Radar Festival. A presentation by Rich Mason Productions and the HighTide Festival Theatre, True Brits is Patel’s debut play. When a violent encounter leads to a whirlwind romance, young Rahul is more than willing to be caught up. But in the aftermath of 7/7, his world changes in ways he cannot control, drawing him into ever-darker places as he struggles to remain part of a British society that now distrusts him on sight. The play sweeps between the paranoid London of 2005 and the euphoric city at the heart of the 2012 Olympics. “I did Google it though, there were only two Asians in Team GB. Out of 542 athletes. And one of them was called “Neil Taylor”. Does that count?” True Brits is a play about being British of Asian descent; a coming of age tale about falling in love and finding a place in a society that distrusts you, simply for looking different.
Date: 4-22 February 2015
Venue: The Vaults, Leake St, London SE1 7NN
Time: 7.45pm (matinees – 3.15pm)
The National Theatre is to launch its On Demand in Schools programme this autumn with three acclaimed National Theatre curriculum-linked productions which will be free for every secondary school classroom in the UK. The productions include Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein by Nick Dear, based on the novel by Mary Shelley, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating the roles of Frankenstein and the Creature; and Nicholas Hytner’s productions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with Rory Kinnear, and Othello with Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear. They will be free to stream on demand in the classroom for three years from September 2015. Exclusively available to UK teachers and schools, no special software is required to watch the streams, and streams can be viewed on multiple devices.
Photo credit: Rory Kinnear and Adrian Lester in Othello courtesy of the National Theatre
Date: From September 2015
For more information, visit: nationaltheatre.org.uk/schools
National Theatre: On Demand. In Schools
Frankenstein trailer – View here
Hamlet trailer – View here
Othello trailer – View here
Sexual charades: Charlie Brooks (Kelly) with Ralph Aiken (Ryan – left) and Jason Durr (Matthew). Photo credit: Kim Hardy
Theatre: Park Theatre
Playwright: Michael Kingsbury
Director: Ian Brown
Review by Maria Teresa Sette
The world premiere of Michael Kingsbury’s Contact.com at Park Theatre is a fun, light-hearted sex comedy-drama which rummages through the emotional consequences of a promiscuous game of partner-swapping by two London couples.
Book: So The Path Does Not Die
Author: Pede Hollist
Publisher: Jacaranda Books
Review by Natalie Gormally
The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 140 million women and girls have been subjected to genital mutilation across the world. Those who support the practice claim it protects women’s so-called “honour”, believing that a woman’s sexuality must be controlled.
Janet Kay is not called the Queen of Lover’s Rock for nothing. Cited in the Music Guinness Book of Records as the first Black British woman to have a hit reggae song in the British pop charts with the classic Silly Games, Kay hasn’t slowed down in her artistic pursuits.
Fighting for survival: Juma Sharkah (Martha/Frisky)and Weruche Opia (Finda). Photo credit: Johan Persson
Play: Liberian Girl
Theatre: Royal Court Theatre
Playwright: Diana Nneka Atuona
Director: Matthew Dunster
Review by Joy Francis
Diana Nneka Atuona’s award winning debut takes no prisoners as it uses the plight of a teenage girl to highlight the horrors of the first Liberian civil war (1989-1996) and the role of child soldiers in the deaths of 200,000 people.
Author: Dreda Say Mitchell
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Price: Paperback £6.99
Review by Andrea Enisuoh
Vendetta, Dreda Say Mitchell’s sixth novel, is a fantastically fast paced read, as expected, but it’s also a departure from her usual style. Though still a crime novel, it is chiefly a murder mystery that keeps you guessing from the first chapter.