Beneatha’s Place @ Young Vic Review

This year marks a year shy of 7 decades post the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement, a movement tackling the inescapable racist climate of the day – and with it fighting for a better tomorrow. Post George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter Movement, we’re at a crucial moment in time where we question what gets taught within our institutions – for the greater good. Tracing Africa’s, America’s and the UK’s journey to build a hopeful world post racism and colonialism, Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah presents Beneatha’s Place, a bridge between the old world and the new one that emerges.

Courtesy of Johan Persson.

Drawn together by their unflinching drive for the betterment of race relations, activist Beneatha (Cherelle Skeete) and her politically ambitious  husband Joseph (Zackary Momoh) make the move to his native Nigeria, from the US, to help realise Joseph’s political ambitions. Racial tensions of the day pre-Nigerian Independence (which would take place in 1960) simmering – Aunty Fola (Jumoké Fashola) a powerful, prophetic force symbolic of the population  ruled by the politics and colonisation of the day – everyone ruled with some sort of idea as to how they envision Nigeria moving forward.

Kwei-Armah pens a vital toolbook for the beginnings of a ‘post-racial’ world – a construct that has been damaging for centuries. Beneatha’s Place packed full of provocations that stare racism head first and challenge them. The script a complex framework as complicated as the world we live in and the topic of racism at hand. We ponder various perspectives on the topic of race which is imperative for change. Whether we agree or disagree with what’s being said, the very fact that a platform is cultivated for these conversations to play out is fantastic to see.

Broken up into two time eras – Lagos 1959 and Lagos now, we’re presented with two very different plays rolled into one. Part one, tragic, weighted – part two observational, at points comical, others heated. I enjoy this dichotomy very much so and the show is very ‘of the moment’, worth the watch!

Written by Lucy Basaba.

Written by Theatrefullstop