Palm Wine & Stout (tour – Ipswich)
His mother copes much better than he does. She’s accepting rather than challenging, and knows when it’s futile to try to change either things or people. So this semi-autobiographical play by Segun Lee-French is on one level a rite-of-passage drama. The touring production by Ivan Cutting and Kate Chapman uses just four actors on a simple platform set surrounded by the clothes racks which allow quick costume changes as the players take on a multitude of roles.
Joe Jacobs is good as Taiye who rediscovers his father and half-siblings only for death and its aftermath to intervene. Helen Grady plays his mother Jane with a ferocious double as the local Big Man. Antoientte Marie Tagoe sashays lithely as Stella, the widow who resents his husband’s other attachments and there is a well thought-out portrait of Femi, Taiye’s African brother with a full-scale chip biting into his shoulder by Zackary Momoh.