UPDATE: Misty transfers to Trafalgar Studios 8/9 to 17/10 Tickets
WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE: Bush Theatre
WHEN: (Press ticket) 26/3 runs to 21/4/18, now extended to 27/4
Arinzé Kene starred with Russell Tovey in our favourite film of 2016, gay footballer storyThe Pass.
- Read on for reasons including why the Bush Theatre is becoming the go-to venue for the best original writing
We last saw him singing in the Old Vic production of Bob Dylan musical Girl From The North Country, which recently closed after a West End transfer, and which we didn’t review on this site because, while we loved the music, we didn’t think the story was strong enough.
Kene has written plays before, none of which we’ve seen, but what attracted about this was the prospect of some gig theatre, a genre we love.
Kene is backed by a keyboardist and drummer and can certainly sing. This two-hour show with interval is a mixture of self-penned songs and spoken word poetry which explores many avenues, not least the idea of London as a body infected by the virus of gentrification.
If that sounds too heavy, there are interjections from friends and relatives of Kene’s about his work and whether he is stereotyping the culture he’s from.
Funniest are the way clips are used from Morgan Freeman and Whoopi Goldberg as interrogating producers who are unconvinced by the work Kene is proposing.
There are some very memorable lines of dialogue too: ‘But us blood cells don’t watch bearded men in leotards, Thank you very much but fuck Shakespeare, This is where I grew up, The other day I was on the bus, and I missed my stop, I did not recognise it.’
Kene also proves what a physical performer he can be as orange balloons figure massively in his story, at one stage even engulfing him.
Misty earns the full five stars because it contains some of the most impressive and thrilling original writing we’ve seen in a theatre this year.
Misty and its predecessor here, Monica Dolan’s The B*easts, which is shortlisted for an Olivier 8/4, prove the Bush Theatre is becoming the go-to venue in the capital to see the most exciting new writing performed.