salt. (4 stars)

This article is from 2017


credit: RWD16

Superb one woman show tackles the burden of racism

Selina Thompson's delicate, moving look at family and legacy has a lyrical script which ebbs and flows like mighty oceans. A profound examination of her ancestors, she traced their journey through the Slave Triangle by cargo boat last year in a pilgrimage to the black diaspora. With her gentle wit and intelligence, she possesses a real sense of restraint.

Clad in a 19th century white dress, she emulates slaves' struggle, talks of the resistance to calling anyone 'Master', and takes a hammer to a huge pile of rock salt on the ground. She is both effortless storyteller and iconoclastic performance artist.

The piece never descends into ire, didacticism, or simple gesture politics, though. Thompson is far too subtle a writer and performer, and her nod to her loving, eccentric adoptive Jamaican parents is truly beautiful. Somewhat incongruously, too, she plays a well-chosen and heart-rending clip from 80s/90s Channel 4 sitcom Desmond's, in which Carmen Munroe as matriarch Shirley Ambrose gratefully acknowledges her bloodline, but also speaks of Britain as her real home.

Representation of ethnic diversity is vital – as much now as it was then, and salt. is an evocative, powerful piece which should be seen by as wide an audience as possible.

Northern Stage at Summerhall, until 26 Aug (not 9, 16, 23), 2.30pm, £12 (£10).


In 2016, two artists retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back. A show about Britain's history of slavery.