This is a very well-written play which tackles a serious subject without preaching or hectoring and is at all times entertaining. A magnificent set of performances, though Patterson Joseph has to be singled out as he is quite magnificent in the most difficult role. Yet another triumph for the new RNT regime. Kwame's contribution to the debate is significant, but I did leave the theatre wondering if it will do any good..... - USER: Whatsonstage.com (18.104.22.168)
22 Jun 03
This is a cracking good play. Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, always thought-provoking. Top marks to Nicholas Hytner for encouraging writing like this.
Kwame Kwei-Armah has a good ear for dialogue and has created a set of all-too believable characters. Although he says in the programme that he wants to look at why young black men are drawn to crime, the play doesn't come across as preachy; these are real, breathing people.
A superb cast delivers the goods. Not a single bad performance.
The night I was there, Edwina Currie was in the audience. I wonder if she thought about how the government she supported create the type of life that the play refers to. Hope you feel ashamed of yourself Edwina.
- USER: Whatsonstage.com (22.214.171.124)
07 Jun 03
This is not a review either, but it's from the aforementioned south Londoner who is not at all familiar with black people. I am aware of accent shifts, thank you very much, and this happens not only within the black community, but amongst many others too (did anyone hear what happened to Gillian Anderson's accent in the UK?). This, however, does not explain why Deli often spoke in an RP accent at the performance I attended. And I'm sorry, but I still found Dona Kroll's accent very inconsistent, with the London accent only making brief, inpromptu appearances. Please, get off your highhorse. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (126.96.36.199)
03 Jun 03
Impressive play, impressive cast. It took a few minutes to adjust to the accents but after that, it's a very absorbing play with a shock ending, which - I think - rather stunned the relatively young audience. Outside the Cottesloe, lots of people (myself included) went up to congratulate Kwame Kwei-Armah on his achievement. I wonder if a West End transfer is on the cards? Andrew B - USER: Whatsonstage.com (188.8.131.52)
02 Jun 03
This is a wicked, funny, energetic play that has real affection for all its characters. I should say that the swinging from London British to West Indian and back again is totally reflective of how we black Londoners speak, 'dealing with the problems of our environment' as one of the characters points out. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (184.108.40.206)
01 Jun 03
This is not a review but a comment on the audience member’s review of Elmina's Kitchen. Are you at all familiar with black people in Britain, or should I say Black British people of Caribbean descent. Because your comments particularly about Donna Krolls accent in the play being way off mark indicates to me that you have very little experience of the way this community uses the English language. Donna and Paterson’s accent changes are wholly consistent with that of the black community and in fact Ms Krolls, being a native of Jamaica, Jamaican accent is by far the MOST authentic I have heard in many a year - USER: Whatsonstage.com (220.127.116.11)
01 Jun 03
Thanks to whoever moved my review in here, but actually I would give the show 2 stars overall, even though my review may not reflect this. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (18.104.22.168)
30 May 03
I'm all for encouraging new/different writing and up-and-coming directors at the National Theatre, but Elmina's Kitchen is not a good play, and Angus Jackson (and most of his cast) don't do it any favours.
Kwei-Armah's play makes really weak attempts to make issues of racial stereotyping and how generations variously escape/fall into it, societal flaws and North London gun-culture, but none of it is subtle, but worse it's never explored in more than about 1 minute or intelligently argued. The result is a cornucopia of ideas joined together with mundane, occasionally amusing padding. Some of the language and situations are so poorly explored, or reduced to trite phrases (on life: "it's like prison, but with bigger cells") that it's cringeworthy.
Paterson Joseph is completely miscast as Deli, IMHO. His characterisation seems inconsistent with what is said about him or his history, and I was utterly unconvinced. He's a good actor, but his facial expression at the end (I won't say why) completely ruined the ending, and SOMEONE PLEASE SORT OUT HIS (and Dona Croll's) ACCENT!!! One minute his own, then normal Hackney, then West Indian, then back!
Elsewhere, Shaun Parkes is superb as Digger, with just the right combination of humour and menace, and boy is he an intelligent actor (also remembering him from Blue/Orange)! The rest of the cast are ok, but the direction ploughs through their lives and emotions as if it were a half hour episode of Desmond's.
Quite a broad audience, with a more young and black audience than is customary at the Cottesloe, but in fact the majority was made up of your bog-standard middle class white NT audience member. But that's all a load of balls when the play in question is so pedestrian, not bad, just pedestrian, that it really doesn't deserve to be in the Cottesloe at all. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (22.214.171.124)
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