Racheal Ofori impresses in this debut show centred on black female voices
This article is from 2015.
Piping in OMI's 'Cheerleader' as the audience comes in sets up just the right tone for this fresh, fun and utterly vital show from Racheal Ofori. Produced by Fuel Theatre, it's an impressive debut from the writer and performer, who fuses poetry, music and witty monologues to portray a range of contemporary black female voices.
The anchor of this multitude of sketches is Candice, a young girl from London who tells us, scathingly, of her mandatory sessions with a school counsellor to help her 'realise her potential'. Ofori flits between her story and a range of other figures: among them, an American pastor, an under-pressure Oxbridge hopeful and an online dating newbie.
They don't all land perfectly – the Oxbridge hopeful feels a little forced – but it's an impressive performance from Ofori, deftly directed by Kate Hewitt (associate director on Sam Mendes' Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Perhaps it's because we see the most of her, but Candice is undoubtedly the show's highlight: she's bright, funny and completely rejects the school-university-job route mapped out for kids her age. Ofori plays her with understated intelligence, and a few of her lines startle in their ferocity.
And although Portrait might be a great showcase for Ofori's versatile acting talent, her words impress just as much. It's an exciting show from a writer / performer we'll hopefully hear more from soon.
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 29 Aug (not 17, 24), 1.20pm, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£10).