Theatre Review: The Black T-Shirt Collection
2013 is proving to be the year of the spoken word artist; more specifically the young British black male spoken word artist. Just last week George The Poet signed to Island records and this week it was revealed Ghostpoet has been nominated for two AIM Awards, and last week we took a seat at Battersea Arts Centre to watch the latest offering from Inua Ellams…
The Black T-Shirt Collection is a story of two Nigerian brothers whose lives take a tremendous turn after they set up a t-shirt company together. Their success takes them all over the world, as with brilliantly simple light and design work, we see the minimal stage transformed in to an office in Cairo, an apartment in London and a factory in China.
These clever details only help to enhance Ellam’s perfectly flowing story, as he merges from character to character and back to narrator, all the while keeping you completely centred on the tale he has to tell.
Each character has their own voice, own facial expressions, their own gestures and mannerisms, yet somehow Ellam delivers a seamless one-man performance, which covers a range of themes from religion to homophobia.
Having toured the country, Ellam has one more performance at BAC before he takes Black T Shirt Collection to Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Having won a Fringe First award for his first play The 14th Tale back in 2009, I’m sure Ellam will be hoping for history to repeat itself and from what we saw it looks like this year, there is no reason why it shouldn’t.
The Black T-Shirt Collection is showing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival from August 19 – 24.
Words: Lloyd Naomi Lewis (@LloydNaomiLewis)