J’Ouvert is the debut play of writer Yasmin Joseph and directorial debut of actress Rebekah Murrell. The play premiered at Theatre503 in May this year and will be on stage until the 22nd of June. Both female artists, alongside producer Tobi Kyeremateng, have combined forces to form a new theatre company, Badbreed, which aims to re-imagine the notion of “British stories”.
The story of Nisha, Jade and Nadine takes place during the Notting Hill Carnival, which is celebrated every August in London with up to 2 million attendees. “J’ouvert” is, in the Caribbean, the official start of carnival at dawn, a great street party celebrated at the beginning of the carnival in many Caribbean islands and areas where Caribbean people have emigrated. And in such synergy is where we meet the protagonists.
J’Ouvert is a timely reflection on Black British womanhood and the sexual politics of Carnival, a cultural tradition deeply rooted in Central and South America. Nadine and Jade, two young best friends, attend the celebration annually with great aspirations, dazzling colours and living spirits. However, this year they will see themselves battling for space in a world they believed was theirs, in a society where Black women’s bodies are frequently under threat.
Full of touches of humour and at the same time of social criticism, the play offers a very close and entertaining staging, with a genuine skilful cast, both in the dancing and the acting, glowing in endless sequins and feathers. The broad talent of the actresses, which in this representation comprehended Sharla Smith, Sapphire Joy and Annice Boparai, is to be noted. They make up the cast.
Director: Rebekah Murrell, Writer: Yasmin Joseph; Producer: Tobi Kyeremateng
Where: Theatre503, 503 Battersea Park Rd, Battersea, London SW11 3BW (above The Latchmere pub)
Dates: 29 MAY 19 – 22 JUN 19
Tickets: £17 (£18 on the door); £12 Concessions; Wednesday matinees £10; Saturday matinees £PayWhatYouCan; 5x£5 tickets for every evening show from 4 Jun.