Friday, 23 October 2009

The 14th Tale - Battersea Arts Centre

The 14th Tale
Writer: Inua Ellam
Reviewer: Marie Kenny

At some point we have to stop being children and grow up. At some point we stop falling over and being scooped up by our parents, at some point the tables turn and it’s quite scary.

Written and performed by Inua Ellam’s, ‘The 14th Tale’ is a 55 minute monologue which tells the tale of his transition from boy to man. His performance is a montage of moments from his early childhood in Nigeria and then the move to England for the remainder of his school years. He shows us a mischievious youth, always looking for the next practical joke with an unstoppable energy for life.

His story is inter-laced with flash forward scenes of him anxiously pacing, anxiously waiting. The tension is raised by the fact that throughout the performance he appears to be wearing blood stained clothes. Piece by piece the story unravels and as the tension builds we are left expecting something more dramatic than his father having a stroke. And yet, in hindsight, in youth, what is more scary than seeing a parent ‘fall’?

Ellam’s shows us how life takes us by surprise. In one particularly funny moment, he recreates sneaking into an unfaithful ex-girlfriends’ apartment in the middle of the night and taking out his revenge by filling her shower head with red acyrilic paint. He’s caught by his phone ringing, his phone ringing to tell him his father has been admitted to hospital.

This is a simple performance piece, one chair and one man, an impressive storyteller.

Runs until 31st Oct
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