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Yvette (Play Review) Yvette (Play Review)
3.5
Yvette (Play Review)

Can you remember what it was like when you were thirteen year old schoolchild with you mind filled with boys (or girls), body image issues and fashion? No? Then go see Urielle Klein-Mekongo debut one woman play ‘Yvette’ does an excellent job in helping bring it all flooding back.

 

Evie has a lot on her mind and a lot to say. She has the hots for a boy called Lewis and would like nothing more than for him to deflower her. She has to keep an eye for all the ‘hoes’ especially the ‘lightys’ who are also vying for his attention.

 

Coupled with this, her Mum is constantly giving her grief. From churning out her usual spiel about teenage pregnancy, to rebuke her for hanging out with the local hoodlums at the same time urging her to find her wanderlust Father it’s a little too much for her.

 

As if that wasn’t enough another scrounging relative Uncle J has come for a short but always turns out to a very long visit. She hates him especially as he treats her like his personal servant.

 

Right now however she has other things on her mind. Like preparing for the upcoming party where she will declare her love for the dreamy Lewis and he will respond by taking her in his strong arms.

 

Her worlds come crashing down, when the bewildered Lewis not only has no interest in her but shame of shame is actually going out with one of her many enemies.

 

Hurt and embarrassed she seeks solace in the arms of Uncle J in what she believes is family compassion. She’s joyfully enjoys what she believes is a father-like relationship, blissfully unaware she’s actually being cruelly groomed for a brutal and shocking sexual assault.

 

In the foreword Urielle tell us that she wrote Yvette as a self-healing piece to reconcile her own experience of sexual abuse.

 

In this exquisitely crafted performance Urielle mixes powerful spoken word, vividly imaginative original songs with bass ladened garage mixes to tell how an innocent desire for love and tenderness can be cruelly betrayed and taken advantage of by others for their own twisted desires.

 

Despite the dark overtones, the placed is laced with comedy throughout. From witnessing Yvette trying to crudely shave her mass of pubic hair, skits of her overbearing mother to the often hilarious verbal jousting battles with classmates about skin colour, hair, thickness of lips etc. we get a glimpse into the chaotic world of a growing teenager.

 

Kudos to director Gbolahan Obisesan for managing to inject a mix of poignancy, sadness and bravado into Urielle’s work. The pace is fast, and so packed with playfulness, music, searing monologues that the 55 minutes quickly passes.

 

Urielle also says that writing helped her to overcome her past which was a major obstacle that she had within, that she needed to face.

 

The final song ‘You Are a Queen’ in which she reclaims her life and defiantly announces that her abuser is not her ‘story’ is testament to this sentiment.

 

Despite its appearance Yvette is a hilarious but beautifully written dark feel good play in which asked to understand that however disturbing our past may have been, it shouldn’t characterise and define your future.

 

A thoroughly absorbing and thoughtful watch. Another successful production by the Bush Theatre team.

 

Yvette, Bush Theatre, Till 4 June. For tickets and details visit: https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/yvette/