Hoard – Arcola Theatre London

Hoard is the joyous and lively debut play by Bim Adewunmi at the Arcola Theatre. Capturing a Nigerian-British family living in East London, this play displays heart, sisterhood and the shame of family smoothly in a short 70 minute time frame.

Hoard is the first play from multimedia journalist Bim Adewunmi is beautifully paired with the experienced direction from Femi Elufowoju, jr. The story sings with character and affection, and whilst the narrative in this case is a specific story, it speaks volumes to the larger experience of a secret shame of your parents and, to some extension, your upbringing.

Sisters Rafi, Bili and Ami Bakare are having a dinner to meet Bili’s new boyfriend Brian, and the ‘soft landing’ goes very quickly askew with the surprise arrival of their mother, Wura Bakare, played by Ellen Thomas. Thomas delivers and incredible and dynamic performance as a strong  and disciplined mother with firm ties to her heritage. Her entrance in this production will go down as one of my favourites of recent experience. And as the play progresses we learn that as much as these young women struggle to maintain their own path in life, Wura is also trying to live her own dreams, now that her daughters are grown.

In last night’s performance of Hoard, there was a change of casting, Ari Bakare, scheduled to be performed by Emmanuella Cole, was portrayed by Estella Daniels. Her performance was brave and strong, and truly showed Ari as the grounding force for the other two sisters.

Arcola Theatre, it is worth mentioning, is an incredible theatre space and company. Their season consistently represents voices new to theatre well and delivers an exciting and broadening theatrical experience.

Hoard is a hilarious and honest piece of writing that is a welcome addition to London’s theatre.

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Jessica Dick

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