DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

Ìlóyá – Utopia Theatre, Sheffield

Reviewer: Jacob Bush

Writer: Segun Lafup Ogundipe

Director: Mojisola Kareem

On a warm weekend in June, Utopia Theatre welcomed a diverse audience into their Creative Hub in Sheffield city centre for a special work-in-progress presentation of Ìlóyá, a new one person play.

The play, whilst clearly drawn on the lived experiences of the writer and their community, tells the fictional story of Mokan, a young Nigerian man, and the struggles he overcomes in his attempts to reach the Nigerian Dream.

The show is written and performed by Segun Lafup Ogundipe who gives a truly wonderful performance. He brings to life the different characters that appear very well. He is warm and likeable, with excellent comic timing and delivery. The more emotional beats also land very well, made all the more moving due to the contrast between these scenes and the light-hearted comedy making up most of the first section of the story.

Julius Obende, who is the choreographer of the piece, appears on stage alongside Ogundipe to provide the musical soundscape, primarily with drumming. Obende is a very skilled drummer, with his music enhancing the piece at just the right moments. Both Obende and Ogundipe demonstrate their strong singing ability throughout the play – the different styles of storytelling used help to keep the audience engaged.

Artistic Director of Utopia Theatre Mojisola Kareem directs the play and does a tremendous job at bringing in all members of the audience in the intimate space and slightly unconventional seating configuration. She ensures everyone is welcomed in but feels safe to engage at whatever level they wish to.

Ìlóyáis a thought-provoking piece of theatre, raising important questions around the global immigration systems and processes and what home really means for those do seek to leave their country of birth for whatever reason. Your reviewer looks forward to seeing how the play progresses and grows in the future.

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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One Comment

  1. Ilọya, a one man play.

    I recently had the pleasure of attending this one-man play that beautifully encapsulates the life experience and eventual immigrantion experience of Mokan in search of greener pastures. I was captivated from start to finish. The actor’s energy and passion were amazing, bringing each character and story to life with remarkable authenticity and depth. His dynamic performance effortlessly bridged the emotional journey of hope, struggle, and confuso-triumph (permit me to create my own word to explain the scene at end of the play), The set design and props were apt, creating an intimate atmosphere.

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