BWW Review: THE HALF GOD OF RAINFALL, Kiln Theatre
Demi is the bastard son of a Nigerian woman and the Greek god Zeus. Half mortal, he has strong elemental power, but also possesses an insane talent in playing basketball. Spanning through Greek and Yoruba mythology, Inua Ellam's magical poem takes you back to the roots of performance.
Combining gorgeous storytelling with beautiful imagery, the piece is expertly directed by Nancy Medina, and told with precision by Rakie Ayola and Kwami Odoom. The 80-minutes are an exciting watch from start to finish.
Ayola and Odoom share a delicious chemistry with one another on stage, and through their multi-rolling they're able to show off their impressive talents. They laugh, dance and physically manipulate their bodies - aided by movement director Imogen Knight - to take on the role of different deities.
The pair's enthusiasm for the work is infectious; they entice us to listen closely and then they keep us there, so that we understand every story beat. What's even more impressive is their ability to linger in the silence, and make it even louder than their words. The pain we feel watching Ayola's character discuss her assault is tangible.
Max John's bare set works well alongside Jackie Shemesh's lighting, which projects vibrant colours against the back of the stage. Tanuja Amarasariya's sound literally thunders across the stage. Medina intertwines all these elements with a real skill and precision.
Ellams' text shines a light on contemporary issues, asking important questions on sexual violence, colonialisation and masculine power. It's an important watch.
Photo: Dan Tsantilis