Artist(s): Jade Anouka
Writer: Sabrina Mahfouz
Director: Kirsty Patrick Ward
Venue: Theatre Tent
Reviewer: Kris Hallett
Chef is a tour-de-force both in its writing and its performance. Sabrina Mahfouz’s Fringe First winning text is a poetic, visceral thrill ride given a performance that matches it blow-by-blow by Jade Anouka that has already won her a Stage acting award and is destined to catapult her onto bigger things.
Anouka portrays a young women who only finds a sense of self-worth when she is forging a career in the kitchen, as she tells us ‘’outside of this I’m not safe.’’ Let down by the men in her life; her boyfriend cheats on her in a nightclub, her dad strangles her in a rage until her breath almost leaves her body; she clings on to the chopping and the stirring thatmay take her to a better place. The nagging question is whether she is giving the whole story?
The text has a rolling verse structure that explodes like aUzi in Anouka’s trailblazing performance. Mahfouz has a way with language that marks her out as a theatrical poet, at one point her female protagonist describes her life as ‘darkness so black its blue.’ It’s rich in metaphor and paints colour with almost every word uttered. Anouka relishes this, spilling out a torrent of language like some Beckett heroine whose life depends on it.
There have been a number of brilliant one-women plays recently and this follows Grounded and Flea Bag in showing a women with dreams who in one way or another is screwed over by the world she finds herself in. Whether Mahfouz leaves us with hope at the end of the evening is unsure but what is clear is that here are two exciting talents that should be kept an eye on.