Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

The Hoes (Theatre Review) The Hoes (Theatre Review)
The Hoes (Theatre Review)

Recently I had the pleasure of seeing Ifeyinwa Fedrick’s debut play The Hoes at the Hampstead theatre. The audience were sat huddled together in the warm and  intimate performance space that was more akin to the bedroom of a mid-ranged Airbnb flat.


We’re introduced to the three actresses. Bim is unashamedly determined to go out and get as much sex as she can, and believes she deserves. J is considering celibacy and Alex is about to move in with a guy she is no longer in love with. As the play unfolds amongst the hilarity the three are forced to make some potentially life changing decisions.


The play addresses female sexuality in an unexpectedly upfront, even crude manner with some very raw and almost queasy sexual banter, but the various issues that come up are all experiences that many women reaching quarter life (i.e. 25) would have experienced directly or indirectly.


The trio of actresses are talented in their own unique way. Aretha Ayeh (Alex) is cool calm and collected but harbours a promiscuous side. Mariem Diouf (Bim) is wild and free spirited but under the bravado is having deep low esteem and suicidal challenges. Nicola Maisie Taylor (J), beneath her façade of ‘Hoedom’ really longs to return to her Christian life, find ‘the one’, settle down and marry.


The Hoes though filled to the brim with comedic moments takes on the subject of’ female sexuality and the often one dimensional view society has of women and in particular  women of colour, bravely and unflinchingly.  Tackling and exposing the often hypocritical and often negative perspective t of women that freely express their eroticism is a theme that runs through this short but illuminating production.


In a recent interview, writer Ifeyinwa said “I never set out to be provocative when choosing the title though it has been interesting watching people react to it and the assumptions they have made about the play as a result. But ‘hoe’ is a word I use often and in a positive sense to refer to someone taking ownership over their body and boldly pursuing their sexual pleasure, which is something these three women do.”


Kudos to Anna Reid, (set and costume designer, ) the dresses (often very short and very sparkly) were realistic combined with the untidiness of the set really helped to convey that sense of a free spirited and somehow manic package holiday.   I secretly plotted how I was going to persuade the production team to give me the whole wardrobe.


In addition, the lighting played a crucial  part in creating a mood that sort of sucked you into the play, the exuberant beach colours contributed to the sense you were there lapping up the warm Balearic sun and waves.


If you’re looking for play that’s raw, raucous that challenges all your senses yet pulls no punches when tackling the thorny issue of female carnal liberation, then you’ll be amply pleased by this production.

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