08 October 2020, The Tablet

Temporary residency


Theatre

Temporary residency

Poet and playwright Inua Ellams
Photo: Oliver Holms

 

An Evening With An Immigrant
Bridge Theatre, London

Because of the six-month hole in this year’s theatre, the 2020 award ceremonies have been curtailed or cancelled. But someone must surely give a prize to Nicholas Hytner’s and Nick Starr’s Bridge Theatre, beside the Thames, which has used what chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty calls “mitigations” – temperature guns, hand gel, hugely reduced capacity – to mount by far the most impressive post-lockdown repertoire of any UK theatre.

In its Covid-safe season of a dozen one-performer shows, two thirds are Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads from TV, but also four newer pieces, the latest An Evening With An Immigrant by Inua Ellams.

The 35-year-old Nigerian-born British-based author is both a playwright – his Barber Shop Chronicles (2017) was an international hit – and poet. His last theatre piece, The Half-God of Rainfall (2019), a mock-Homeric epic about fate and basketball, was both a published book and performance by two actors at London’s Kiln Theatre.

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