Love connects us all, a powerful emotion that many have captured throughout the ages through various art forms, it powers and inspires humanity. Without it, the world would be a duller place. Marking Valentine’s Day this year with the 2nd edition of their comedy showcase, BBC’s Ashley J and DJ B-Radz present Lovers & Friends, a thought provoking, light hearted, sentimental evening celebrating love in its multiple guises.
Setting the evening’s tone, DJ B-Radz opens the event with a 90s/00s nostalgic R’n’B/Hip Hop inspired set, Ashley J warmly welcoming the crowd to a fun-loving showcase, a comical skit whereby the pair showcase ‘love’ in its various forms evoking laughter instantly.
First up, singer Aneesa Marie delivers a mini set comprising of two songs “In Memory” and “Ladies’ Night”, accompanied by the talented INSXGHT on piano, we’re presented with the nostalgic and spiritual aspects of love. “In Memory” an emotional look back at what was, “Ladies’ Night” an empowering piece calling to God and working on self love. Both delivered with plenty of soul, this starts the process on the contemplation of love and its many complexities. Next, dancer and choreographer Olivia Francis mesmerises with a powerful locking sequence. An engrossing, emotional performance drawing on the spiritual, we watch as Francis takes on an ethereal quality, airy yet with a strength and rootedness. Fluid, the routine is ever moving, swirling and cyclical – magnetic.
Following on from this, celebrated choreographer, dancer and co-founder of Boy Blue Ent, father Kenrick Sandy MBE, and son Kenyah Sandy perform a poignant routine, a beautiful representation and encapsulation of a father passing down his legacy onto his son. The pair alternating between solo segments and working as one – we witness the power of family bonds. Concluding the evening, musical duo Monochrome showcase a set of new songs, singer Orin Norbert soulfully starting off each number – “Lucid Dreams”, “Galactic” and “Closer to Heaven” before singer and pianist Joshua Benjamin takes over, contributing effortlessly high, soulful tones. A brilliant partnership exploring the ups and downs of infatuation, lust, romance and heartbreak.
Integrated throughout the evening, a series of games – including ‘Places & Movements’, a ‘Blind Date inspired show and ‘Mr and Mrs’ add a playful energy to the evening, a chance for our host to get to know the audience better and one that unites us all. Throughout, you can’t help but be swept away by the level of camaraderie binding the evening together, host Ashley J, DJ B-Radz and the line up all working together to produce an entertaining evening, the event made possible by the production’s supportive ‘angels’- Kamille Leon, Ayesha Kpobie-Charles, Hollie Maria, Sharleen ‘Red Fox’ Ferrol-Fulgence, Ayshen ‘Icy’ Mustafa-Abdullah who all help to ensure everything runs smoothly. A recommended pre-Valentine’s night out, whether you’re single or in a relationship and one that has you reflecting on your own ideas of what love means to you.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Lovers & Friends was shown on Saturday 12th February 2022 at Rich Mix. To find out more about the event, visit here…