centre: Ira Mandela Siobhan (Dancing Elegbara). Seated left-right: Noma Dumezweni (Yemaya), Michelle Asante (Oya) and Naana Agyei-Ampadu (Oshun)

London Theatre to Watch Now: Feast at the Young Vic

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There’s a great production called Feast currently on at the Young Vic. Yoruba mythology in Nigeria is the starting point of the show, which then weaves a path through the diaspora showing how Yoruba traditions travelled and adapted across time and continents via the Atlantic slave trade to the present day. All packed into a 90-minute multi-media extravaganza of song, dance and a live chicken!

It’s a multi-country, multi-playwright collaboration and cast – from Brazil, Cuba, Nigeria, UK and USA – with scenes, musical styles, dances and accents flitting between all five countries during the course of the performance. There’s the potential for segments to feel disjointed but the seamless staging and acclaimed cast pull all the strands together in style.

The idea for Feast was sparked in Nigeria during a Royal Court playwriting workshop. The next workshop was in Cuba and talk came round to the Candomblé religion in Brazil and Cuban Santeria, which both have roots in Yoruba beliefs fusing Orishas (deities) with Catholicism. Slaves disguised their Orishas as Catholic saints to preserve and practice their traditional beliefs which somehow helped them cope with the horrific situation and keep a sense of self.

Feast fits the bill whether you are interested in the cultural aspects or simply want to be entertained with music, dance and eye candy.

The show’s run has been extended until 2 March 2013. For full details and ticket information visit: www.youngvic.org 

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