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Pandora's Box (Tour - Salford)

Sarah Bloomer reviews Pandora's Box at the Lowry.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Several decades on from the Windrush generations of Nigeria, the pressures and conflicts of growing up in a fragmented western culture have lamented a sobering return to the motherland.

Pandora's Box

Pandora's Box presents a dichotomous tale: the division of a family torn apart by respect for their heritage and motherly love, and a London "ghetto education" versus the threat of a "Nigerian tinderbox waiting to explode".

Like her mother before her, Toyin, faces an impossible decision over whether to leave behind her only son, Timi, to a strict Nigerian education when she returns to London. Amidst the horrors of volatile gang culture and park stabbings, Toyin must vanquish abandonment and resentment to save her son's life.

The play, written by award-winning playwright Ade Solanke, a born and bred British Nigerian, was nominated for Best New Play and short listed for the Nigeria Prize for Literature. Directed by Shade Oladiti, Pandora's Box features a talented cast of accomplished actors that bring to the stage a comedic portrayal of a prevalent issue by posing the question: If our children fail have we as parents failed?

"You've got to roll deep these days," says sixteen year-old Timi, and on a wing and prayer regardless of society or division of culture, this piece is a familiar soap opera of resonating family values.

With so much history to cover, the play at times demonstrates a depth of content that could far exceed it's already hulking runtime, and the smattering of faltered lines and extensive monologues, however charismatic, consistently threatens to disengage the audience.

Pandora's Box is ultimately a relevant play about the conflicts and struggles of parenthood and the reluctant realisation that, whatever your culture, it takes a village to raise our children.

Pandora's Box continues to the tour the UK. For full tour dates, click here.