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Desert Boy (Tour - Birmingham)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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As Soldier Boy struggles for his life after being punctured by the sharp edge of a knife he encounters Desert Man, a strange yet familiar character of a by-gone era. Desert Man takes the boy on a metaphorical journey, drawing parallels between the youngster and his ancestors of years ago.

Both characters are pursued and persecuted, whether the boy is on the run from his local gang or Desert Man running from enslavement. The bond that forms between the two protagonists through the duration of the performance is both touching and interesting to watch as each character takes traits and lessons from the other.

Emmanuel Idowu’s portrayal captures the attitude of so many young people and is cleverly written in conveying current attitudes and values. It is inspiring to watch as these attitudes alter when given insight into the struggle of his ancestors, but also how many similarities they both possess.

The use of suggestive physical staging and echoing a-capella singing combine to create a range of shifting locations that switch between Solider Boys contemporary home and the years of Desert Man. Sometimes the quick exchange between settings can prove a little confusing, but do keep a healthy fast pace to the proceedings.

A small yet talented cast aid the ever moving narrative and a real sense of community is conveyed throughout the production. The cast works hard to support the motifs and lessons that Mojisola Adebayo’s script portrays whilst always taking full note of the witty exchanges and touching moments the piece provides.

- Ben Wooldridge


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