29 July 2021, The Tablet

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

Bush Theatre, London

One of the more common media apologies these days is for describing as a “Christian name” the first word on the passport of those from other faiths. But the Congolese-British actor and writer Benedict Lombe carries the intention her naming suggests, which is a central point in her passionate and fascinating 85-minute monologue, Lava, performed by young actress and dancer, Ronk? Adékolu?jo.

The trigger was Lombe’s recent application, which she assumed would  be routine, to renew her British passport. But a letter came back complaining her papers were not in order; the name on her birth certificate is blank, and so her various identities – she also has a South African passport, due to an itinerant life the show describes – do not exactly match, as UK bureaucracy requires, especially since the post-Theresa May era “hostile ­environment” towards terrorists and immigrants, groups not always regarded as discrete.

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