Stardust (4 stars)

This article is from 2018


credit: Alex Brenner

Provocative expose of Colombia's narco reality

Stardust is an unflinching look at the narcotics history of Colombia, created with an international team of artists and performed by Columbian actor and theatre-maker Miguel Hernando Torres Umba. Co-written with Daniel Dingsdale, the play is a tour de force of disciplines with beautiful hand-drawn animations, physical theatre and verbatim stories used to communicate the complex realities and of the narcotics trade.

Umba is a passionate and versatile performer, giving a quick fire history of the drug and busting some dynamite dance moves as a voice over explains what cocaine does to the body. He becomes the host of game show, 'Plata o Plomo', where the audience weighs in with whether we would use money or guns to move up the drug chain and plays up to the stereotype of a Colombian perpetrated by TV shows like Netflix's Nacros, wildly firing at those involved in the trade and those trivialising it.

The phoney patter with his operator Josh Cohen about when cues should come in feels a little jarring in such a polished performance, with the weight of the research evident behind this educating, provocative and irreverent expose. It shows that cocaine is a problem for the world, not just Colombia – and while Miguel laments that he doesn't have an answer, Stardust has at least started the conversation.

Pleasance Dome, until 27 Aug (not 20), 4.20pm, £9–£11.50 (£8–£10.50).


  • 4 stars

Blackboard Theatre Winner of VAULT Festival People's Choice Award 2018. 'Gloriously fascinating' ★★★★★ ( 'Crushing and funny. More than highly recommended' ★★★★ ( 'A dazzling show' ( 'Theatre can change the world. This is one of those shows…