Writer: Tayo Aluko
Director: Amanda Huxtable
Reviewer: Matt Forrest
Just an Ordinary Lawyer proved something tonight; you don’t need a fancy set or stage trickery to tell a good story: just a fine performance, a captivating script and a musical maestro on the piano. Put all these ingredients into the mix and what you have is a thought-provoking, captivating piece of theatre that everyone should go and see.
The story blurs the line between fact and fiction as we are introduced to Nigerian born Tunji Sowande, a hard working solicitor with a passion for cricket and singing. He has rocketed through the legal profession to become Britain’s first Black Judge.
We trace Sowande’s journey from his travel from Nigeria as a young man with dreams and aspiration through to his triumphant membership of the MMC at Lord Cricket club, the birthplace of cricket. However his journey is filled with hardship and prejudice which include encounters with law firms unwilling to employ a Black solicitor out of sheer bigotry and a fractured relationship with his son.
What Aluko has manged to do, is masterfully take a singular story and place within it some of the most shocking and iconic moments in modern-day history, including the assassination of Martin Luther King and the controversy of South Africa banning England from touring because of the inclusion of Black batsman Basil D’ Oliveria in 1968. Included also are numerous civil wars that have ravaged the African continent as a result of European colonial rule. The level of detail and research Aluko has undertaken is mesmerising.
Aluko manages to tell this story beautifully, holding your attention throughout. It is punctured with humour and song, with Tim Mottershead providing support on the piano for musical numbers. However what is most striking from this production is the compassion and humanity in which it is performed. This is also helped by Aluko’s endearing, warm and charismatic performance.
This is an important piece of theatre that educates, informs and entertains and should be seen at the nearest available opportunity.
Review 29th March 2018 | Image: contributed