The Bush continue to programme shows that inspire nostalgia from our childhood. Last time it was sibling dynamics and the reminiscent smell of incense with the House of Ife and before that it was the solidarity of estate communities and chicken shops with Red Pitch. Sleepova evokes the glorious intensity that comes with the intersection of female love, friendship, and teenage angst. Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini’s commentary of the importance of black female friendships is bursting with dark humour and relentless joy.
The star of the show, Bukky Bakray (Rocks) is a dangerous performer, she’s so effortlessly funny you have to be careful what lines you give her in case it disrupts the flow of the play, not that we the audience care, we’re too busy clutching our stomachs and wiping away tears of mirth. The cast as a whole individually feel real and rooted in their characters however together lack an easiness that should be present in a years old friendship circle. The set is a bit of a missed opportunity with a few props suggesting a place but lacking a coherent overallvision.
It’s a surprising play in that you don’t know where it’s heading or who you’re meant to be watching. There are times this style of narrative can feel tedious, but the humour of the piece will often bring it back. The strength of the play and why I would recommend it to friends and family is the cultural references which come in thick and fast. We have the gamble of ice cream containers containing leftovers, the strict religious parents, the lights cut coz the leccys run out, black magic rituals, exorcisms and curfews. The world represented is a world intimately familiar for children of migrants and people of colour in London.
By Tasnim Siddiqa Amin.
Follow Tasnim on Instagram: @tasnimsiddiqaamin & WordPress.
Sleepova is currently showing until Saturday 8th April 2023 at the Bush Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…
To read our interview with writer Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini, visit here…