Director: Vicky Igbokwe
Reviewer: Holly Sharp
Head Wrap Diaries. If you came prepared for a lecture, prepare to be disappointed. If you came for a party, prepare to get one. The show tells the stories of three black female characters exploring their gender, community, heritage through discussion of their hair. A fabulously produced score by Ghanaian musician Kweku Acht provides a sizzling soundtrack for Uchenna Dance founder Vicky Igbokwe’s choreography, which can be insufficiently summarised as African dance, meets house party, meets dancing all night long with a massive smile on your face.
There’s an all-round feel-good atmosphere to this piece, while their chosen subject matter would elsewhere lead itself to far more sedate, earnest explorations, Uchenna Dance subvert the norm by twerking it out the room. The three dancers, Shanelle Clemenson, Sheila Attah, Habibat Ajayi exude feistiness, humour and confidence from every pore, it’s difficult not to look onstage and wish you could pull off that level of attitude. It’s amazing to have three strong, athletic, unapologetic women onstage, let alone three strong, athletic, unapologetic women of colour –hopefully Head Wrap Diaries is paving the way for a future where this show will no longer be an anomaly.
A criticism is that the bubbling energy and enthusiasm at times eclipses the wider point. The three separate narratives are near impossible to distinguish, while the promised “immersive, interactive” experience isn’t really delivered in the theatre show, although maybe the latter refers more to the post-show ‘Head Wrap Bar’ with stylist Jodie-Simone Howe. while there’s arguably never a dull moment, goofy caricatures are also at times eked out to the point of seeming forced; in this particular case, less could really be so, so much more.
while still a little rough around the edges, a few tweaks and attention to detail could electrify this show and transform Uchenna Dance from a bit of fun to absolutely phenomenal.
Reviewed on 19th October | Image:Foteini Christofilopolou