Sunny Side Up @ Theatre Peckham Review

The environments we grow up in play a significant role in our developmental journey. Childhood friendships and experiences things that never truly leave us. A retrospective of his locality of Peckham, writer and performer David Alade presents Sunny Side Up – a reconnection to his younger self and a heartfelt look of what now is.

Referring to himself as ‘Lil D’, Alade guides us through a 70 minute journey of his life thus far, from his humble upbringing to the current day. Tales of school – childhood crushes, parents’ evenings, grades showcasing a natural talent  for the arts, college, attending Angela Ruskin University, Cambridge – where a wake up call has him confronted with pursuing the right path compared to those he has grown up with all building the foundations for a better life.

Alade’s characterisation of his late father endearing in spirit, sadly diagnosed with lung cancer, we watch through Alade’s prism, a hard working, aspirational, no nonsense individual, who slowly succumbs to the life threatening illness. His bold, traditional, stern carer a powerful force, who stays true to her Nigerian roots, Lil D now confronted with the responsibility of helping care for his father, alongside his sibling and take on the father figure role.

Sunny Side Up lovingly clasps onto memory, no matter how painful, and holds on tightly to home. Suzanne McLean directing a lively, hearty 70minutes concerned with etching out the breadth of characters that have crossed Alade’s path and helped to shape him. Natalie Pryce’s authentic barb wired set, with school uniform blazers, a basketball and bicycle attached, transporting us back to the past, enclosing Alade on stage as if a metaphorical enclosure and constant reminder of his roots. Sunny Side Up crafts a safe space to grieve, references to Christianity and attending church  offer moments of salvation. We see here that spirituality offers a great sense of healing. A powerful production, heartfelt!

Sunny Side Up was shown from Tuesday 14th February until Saturday 4th March 2023 at Theatre Peckham. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop