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Bronx Gothic Bronx Gothic
Bronx Gothic is a play to be watched. And then to be watched again.

01/06/2019 7PM | REVIEW | Jacqueline Malcolm

Bronx Gothic is a play to be watched. And then to be watched again.

Bronx Gothic, a play written, devised and performed by award-winning Brooklyn-based Okwui Okpokwasili was not what I expected, though I admit I didn’t really fully know what to expect. Based at the Young Vic, I knew I could trust it would be something watchable, enjoyable and worth coming out to see. But I don’t know if anything could have prepared me for the onslaught of vibrant vitality that was waiting for me from the moment I walked into the space.

On arrival you can’t help but notice the beautiful young lady preparing herself (or so I had assumed) in the furthest corner of the stage as we all hurriedly take our seats. Her back is already pulsating with energy and you become quite mesmerized very quickly with her strength of movement. There is a slight but marked change, both in sound and lighting, and suddenly her ‘warm-up’ becomes the performance and for what seems like a good ten minutes we are left to simply watch: No words, no witty dialogue pulling our attention but we were given a moment just to watch, observe and be swept away in a growing story which launches with her face turned determinedly to the wall.

Okwui Okpokwasili’s one woman show is about a conversation between two young girls. The reading of letters shared throughout the hot summers and cold nights of their youth. The liquidity of the wellformed characters is very impressive as their dreams, both lived and imagined, are recreated through one vessel. There seemed to be a divide in the audience between those who found the conversation at a level of girlish banter, to those, like me, who from the outset found the conversation and experiences too worryingly mature for girls of such young age but still couldn’t help but smile at the delivery of the tales. But we were all on the same page and the message crystal clear at the end of the piece, when the journey reaches its peak and the whole picture is revealed literally through sweat, blood and tears.

Peter Born did a job of excellence in Directing Okwui Okpokwasili’s one woman show, Bronx Gothic, allowing the passion to be held and sustained throughout the entire journey. A play to be watched. And then to be watched again.



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