Outside of the family setting, our friendship bonds are arguably our most important, our peers crucial to our emotional and psychological well-being, networks we can turn to in times of need and for much needed support and guidance. Friendships from childhood incredibly powerful and resonant if they endure. An exploration of friendship and the detrimental impact of racism on a friendship dynamic, Orisun Productions present PlayFight as part of Theatre Peckham Fringe Festival.
Disagreements are constants within friendships, TJ (Edward Kagutuzi), Kai (Joshua Okunsanya) and Zara (Cece Cox) teenage friends since primary school who encounter these, at points not seeing eye to eye about things. Friends that depend on one another for advice and support, conversing over topics such as family and mental health, a particular playfight between TJ and Kai overshadows their years long friendship and goes on to change the face of the trio’s connection, their disagreement dealt with with a severity that results in the exclusion of both and the gradual break down of their friendship. What immediately comes into question is the manner in which the incident is dealt with and whether the punishment is harsher than needed due to discrimination. PlayFight an observant commentary on external pressures and the well-being of Black youth.
Christina Alagaratnam writes an impactful script filled with authenticity – Kai and TJ given their opportunity to air their grievances and express their living within a societal structure that doesn’t appear to support them. PlayFight successfully picking up on the isolation and loneliness felt by both. Kagutuzi, Okunsanya and Cox all capturing a playful bond relatable to many and the teenage angst felt. Leian John-Baptiste directs an engaging, thought provoking evening, one where we shift between Morley’s Chicken and Chip Shop and the school setting, these settings realities for inner city London youth – backdrops that shape teenagehood. The calling for the breaking of these same repetitive vicious cycles resonant, the subtle conversations had about mental health incredibly potent. PlayFight is a responsive and a piece of political theatre that really demands for changes to occur.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
PlayFight was shown from Thursday 2nd until Friday 3rd June 2022 at Theatre Peckham as part of their fringe festival. To find out more about the production, visit here….
For our interview with co-artistic directors of Orisun Productions Leian John-Baptiste and Shereener Browne, visit here…