Creator: Racheal Ofori
Reviewer: Sophia Moss
This one-woman play explores sex, shame, religion and the quarter-life crisis through the eyes of a 25-year-old British Ghanaian woman played by Racheal Ofori. The audience is taken on a journey through the protagonist’s memories as she reflects on when things started to go wrong. We go to primary school with her and watch as she is called a lesbian for being good at sports, we listen to her classmate brag about her ‘four-inch clit’, and we watch the narrator struggle with her religious upbringing, society’s expectations and her own desires.
Ofori is a talented performer; she manages to change her voice, her body language and her entire stage presence so you can visualise the characters she is impersonating. A personal highlight being her impression of a man in Ghana who keeps trying to help her carry her bucket. The body language and facial expressions help us imagine how she, as a young woman trying to shower and being harassed by an older man in a strange country, would have felt. Camden People’s Theatre has a tiny stage without much room for any elaborate set designs, but a neon sign on the wall which is used to represent a mango tree, God, a penis, and a vagina adds an entertaining visual element to proceedings.
Ofori’s re-telling of the first time she had sex, how it was: “A bit painful” and “sort of nice …. I think” will speak to women everywhere who are tired of unrealistic sex scenes with screaming orgasms that are far removed from their own encounters. Her’ failed search for ‘spicy sex’ is hilarious, but it’s also an incredibly refreshing break from unrealistic sexual discourse.
So Many Reasons Why works very well when it is personal. Ofori’s stories make us laugh, make us empathise and make us think about wider issues of religion, shame and sex, however, it works less well when the piece tries to make grand statements about society as a whole – her rant’s about body image may well be true, but feel clichéd. The accounts of how religion shaped her life are interesting and highlight Ofori’s inner turmoil of what her mother’s religion demands and what society expects, the religious-heavy passages, however, start to feel disconnected with the play as a whole.
The piece, especially the ending doesn’t have the impact one would expect from what is arguably such a powerful and true stor.
Reviewed 19th January 2018 | Image: Contibuted