I know all the secrets in my world is an unexpected piece of theatre. Part play, part physical theatre, part dance even – it’s a gentle, thought provoking, moving exploration of loss and longing. There are no long speeches about coping with death, rather we watch as time passes and grief and eventually a healing of sorts unravel.
This is a play about a father and son struggling to find ways to communicate following the unexpected death of their wife and mother and it covers gender roles, grief, fantasy and disconnect with powerful and profound performances. Both actors, Solomon Israel (Dad) and Samuel Nicholas (Son) commit entirely to their roles and are delightfully watchable. This is a tough ask as much of the play is dialogue free, but they both convey the confusion, anger, escape and clawing for comfort with a tenderness and force that is compelling to watch. Israel is completely believable as the father struggling with his own grief and unable to connect with his son and Nicholas is a real find – playing a vulnerability and naivety mixed with the cheeky naughtiness of a young kid who finds his own ways of coping.
The play has some lighter moments too. The sensitively observed playful interactions between a father and his young child, the rebelliousness born out of boredom, and there are some delicious physical flourishes and beautiful lighting choices that make the one hour play feel more like an interactive art installation at times – that’s not meant as a criticism – it’s more that everything from the set to the actors choices feels selected and choreographed to create something other than a simple play about the loss of a wife and mother. This is a three dimensional experience using an abundance of senses and although there are moments where the plot felt a little repetitious and perhaps some scene changes could be snappier – perhaps this is part of what the play is saying. There is no linear journey and quick fix to an event as monumental as the loss of a parent and partner.
Natalie Ibu (writer/director) is careful not to manipulate or patronise her audience and amongst the acting and movement there are some stunning visual moments too – the dresses suspended in motion work beautifully and are heartbreakingly evocative of what this household is missing. The final stages of the play provide the satisfactory without being cloying ending that the play deserves.
This is a tender play about death and loss and family, it’s lovingly crafted and tenderly performed, the sort of play that lingers in your mind long after you’ve left the theatre.
Review by Roz Wyllie
A father and son struggle to find ways to communicate following the unexpected death of their wife and mother in this poignant, moving performance exploring absence, fantasy, gender roles, disconnection and the permanence of love. Collaborating with an all-male cast, an all-female creative and production team use sound and movement to illustrate the grief process in this unspoken and universal multi-love story of men, women, fathers and sons as the two men try to cope with the everyday and understand what family means without her.
tiata fahodzi, the UK’s leading African theatre company, embark on a new direction as they celebrate their 18th birthday following Natalie Ibu’s appointment as Artistic Director in 2014. The company, whose approach to diversity extends offstage, onstage and across their content, will make their wider touring debut across the UK with i know…
national tour | i know all the secrets in my world
Touring dates visit here
Review performance on 28th January 2016
at West Herts College
Watford Campus, Hempstead Rd, Watford, Hertfordshire WD17 3EZ
7.30pm | Sat matinee 2.30pm on 30th January | £12 + £1.50 handling fee
Rumour/16-25 & West Herts College Students: £5
Box office: 01923 225671