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Hoard (Play Review) Hoard (Play Review)
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Hoard (Play Review)

Hoard is the hilarious and intelligent comedy about the machinations of a close-knit Nigerian family in today’s Britain.

 

Set in a contemporary London flat, sisters Rafi (Elizabeth Ita) and Ami (Estella Daniels) are hosting a dinner party where they earnestly await the arrival of Brian (Tyler Fayose), the dishy American boyfriend of their baby sister Bili (Kemi  Durosinmi).

 

Mouthwatering meals and drinks have been prepared and the evening is in full swing, with music dancing and general hilarity ensuing only to be cut short by the arrival, without warning of the girls imposing mother, Waru (Ellen Thomas).

 

The evening’s tone immediately changes. Waru demands to know why Brian is being kept from her, and more importantly why he has not been brought to visit her. Were they ashamed of her she pleads.

 

Each daughter in their own way reveals the deep seated pain, embarrassment and taunts they suffered as children and beyond by their mothers uncontrollable desire to stockpile and hoard items for her business as their reasons for their reluctance to visit or come home.

 

Waru is equally sensitive of her failures. “Do you think I like not selling my stock? You think I don’t hear what people say about me? About my house? You think I’m happy not to have a business like my mother?” She asks. Stung to the core by their hostile admissions.

 

Writer, Bim Adewunmi skilfully and slowly dissects and unpicks layer by layer what happens to families when longstanding concerns are not aired and resolved. It’s a cautionary tale of the consequences can be devastating, leaving emotional scars that are impossible sometimes too deep heal.

 

This was admirably expressed through Elizabeth Ita, gave the standout performance of the night. With her feisty and unforgiving retorts, a consequence of years of pent up anger, she bludgeoning her mother’s defences with such palpable ferocity that made the audience wince.

 

Tyler Fayose, as the confused and frightened boyfriend eager not to anger his prospective mother-in-law provides most of the comedic moments as sneaks in out of the battle zone to get glasses of wine and plates of food whilst avoiding getting caught in the crossfire.

 

Ellen Thomas is magnificent as the towering, larger than life matriarch, determined to keep her family together, dark and angry one moment and funny and perceptive the next. The only downside being her wavering and unrealistic ‘Nigerian’ accent. Something I felt director Femi Elufowoju jr despite putting together an accomplished production could have worked on.

 

Overall, Hoard is an exquisite observation of clash between generations and differing attitudes to the significance of culture from an African perspective. A sharply inventive and amusing watch. Well worth the trip to deepest Dalston.

 

Till 8th June, Arcola Theatre, E8 3DL, £15-£22 https://ebonyonline.net/hoard-arcola-theatre/