Review: ★★★★ So Many Reasons, The Ovalhouse

Racheal Ofori stars in this solo piece which tackles the many conflicting influences acting on young people today, specifically from the point of a young woman from London called Melissa. It shows how she balances the pressures from her Ghanaian mother, religious expectations and the views of other people her age. The story feels intensely personal, bringing in childhood memories, intimate details and scenes of private prayer. However, Ofori expresses feelings and doubts that everyone experiences, creating a very relatable and engaging story.

Ofori is a powerful presence on the stage. She represents not only the protagonist, but her younger self, her family members and various other people who feature in the anecdotes. She uses a variety of accents and mannerisms to represent the people who she describes interacting with, enacting conversations with herself with ease. She uses a combination of comedy and sincerity to tell the story, giving the audience an insight into a wide range of conflicting emotions.

The set is simple, a space littered with random objects that could mostly come from a teenage girl’s bedroom. She uses the objects throughout the show for a variety of purposes, moving them around the set in a way that appears casual but is obviously carefully planned. The most impressive part of the set is the lighting. The main lights adjust to match Melissa’s mood, as well as creating the impression of scene changes. But at the back of the set there is a neon light which is used very creatively, with one shape being lit in various ways to reveal images such as a palm tree, the outline of Jesus, and a vagina.

The sound is also impressive, but very subtly implemented. The background music blends so effortlessly into the production that at times you hardly notice it, it simply becomes part of the scene that Ofori creates. At other points, the sound effects match perfectly to Ofori’s actions, demonstrating the underlying attention to detail in this very natural-feeling production.

So Many Reasons presents a clear character growth and development without creating too formal a structure, which matches the subject matter perfectly as there are no definite answers to the issues she addresses. Ofori expresses many points of view, without giving an exact moral conclusion to the story, but still showing the how the various influences have affected Melissa’s life.

Emma Grimsley

Emma Grimsley
Emma Grimsley

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