WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Bush Theatre (Press review night ticket)
WHEN: Press night 31/5, runs to 30/6/18
RUN TIME: 2 hours and 10 minutes (including interval)
What was it like to have been born and raised in Jamaica in the last century and to move to the UK for a new life?
- Read on for reasons including how this mixes both comedy and tragedy to tell an unusual story
This is the question answered by Winsome Pinnock’s play Leave Taking lovingly revived here and 1st staged at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1987.
It is the story of Enid (sharply drawn by Sarah Niles) who lives in Deptford, south east London, works as a cleaner and is bringing up two daughters, one of whom is a tearaway and another who is an academic but is struggling to find her identity in the books available to her.
Enid’s story may chime with those of other immigrants who find they are not quite accepted in the country they have chosen and, especially when something momentous happens as it does here, they feel they also no longer quite fit into the world they have left behind.
Most hard-hitting is a story of a work night out when Enid, dressed to the nines, is ordered to clean up after a drunken colleague by her boss.
Enid’s daughters have other preoccupations and Del finds some companionship in the company of Adjoa Andoh’s (pictured top above) Mai and the fortune-telling she offers.
There is much comedy here not least in this relationship where the sense also of administering to ‘a black woman’s soul’ is mulled over.
Especially good is Wil Johnson as uncle Brod who at first appears to be an affable drinker and it is only later that he is revealed in a different light at the same time as we glimpse the true horror of what Enid’s initial home life in London was like.
There’s much to recommend Leave Taking then, not least that it features four different women’s stories at its heart, but also that it provides a window into a life that is so rarely seen on the stage.