Shit has a triple meaning here: it’s the drugs and booze clogging up the music/clubbing industry ; it’s literal, and it’s the way women are being treated.Either way, it all stinks.
Adura Onashile’s provocative play, named after the Fela Kuti track fuses a double narrative focusing on Tolu (a wonderful Kiza Deen) a toilet attendant who in the first storyline, in Lagos in 1994 dreams of dancing with her friends in the legendary Nigerian musician Kuti’s backing band ; and in the second, is working in a Glasgow nightclub toilet based on the Shimmy-effectively a female pimp as she persuades unsuspecting women to preen, pee and show cleavage for paying male punters watching behind a two way mirror.
The cast are outstanding,dancing brilliantly to Lucy Wild’s choreography (Zombie is a particular treat) and hurling affectionate cheek at one another.
There is a real pulse to Onashile’s script-it’s dynamic and has heart-stopping drama and fury- particulary discussing Kuti’s degradation of women and the failure of Nigeria’s revolution.
Yet ultimately it pulls its punches.When one of the women (all are unnamed save for Tolu, suggesting their disposability) played by Veronica Lewis, who has confided in Tolu, confronts her to confess that she was date raped by a club patron, she’s simply not convincing enough.She should be traumatised and in pain,but merely seems distracted.
However the topic of patriarchal exploitation and voyeurism is a timely one, particularly in the wake of recent comments by judge Lindsay Kushner in Manchester that drunk women should ‘be more careful’ on nights out.
The play is fine- it just needs more grit-that’s the real shit.
Touring until April 22nd