Feast yours eyes on this
Feast at the Young Vic is a treat.
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This show is bold and ambitious, starting with three sisters travelling to a dinner in 18th Century Nigeria who encounter a trickster and are transported through a series of connected scenes spanning five countries and bringing us to the present. A little like Cloud Atlas, except with singing, dancing and a live chicken.
Rufus Norris’ production celebrates Yoruba culture, which originated from West Africa but spread globally with the international slave trade. The play whizzes from Africa, to Brazil and Cuba, America and London – which a different writer taking on each setting – combining drama, dance and original music to create a vivid cultural landscape. The cast carry these changes in time and space with an incredible ability to switch accent and character. The drama cuts seamlessly from belly laughs to gut wrenching singing – I’d happily have any of the female leads sing at my inauguration – Noma Dumezweni (Doctor Who’s Captain Magambo) is a delight, switching from the desperation of emancipated slave in Brazil to a farcical Cuban sex worker.
The staging is simple yet beautiful, mixing projection and London’s nicest string curtain (no, really) – used to great effect during an incredibly moving representation of the journey of transatlantic slave ships. Another scene snapshots the civil rights movement stunningly, without the patronising or sappy air of The Help.
Throughout, the dance and music introduce the melting pot of styles which came out of Africa, from traditional rhythms to samba and hip hop. The third act isn’t quite as polished as the rest of the piece – some scenes felt a little too short – but still maintains the unrelenting pace and humour.
Feast was fresh, rich and visually delicious; I’d encourage gorging yourself.
Feast runs at the New Vic until March 2.
Feast is co-produced with the Royal Court Theatre and forms part of World Stages London, a project which brings together London theatres and international partners to celebrate the ‘exhilarating’ diversity of London. Visit worldstageslondon.com and youngvic.org