Touring – reviewed at Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol
Back in November 2018, a group of young producers from Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres went to London to see Sweet Like Chocolate Boy at the Jack Studio Theatre. They pitched it to the powers at the Tobacco Factory and it is now at the beginning of a short tour and a four-night run in Bristol. This is an insight into bold programming, canny producing and a dynamite piece of theatre.
The publicity plays heavily on Sweet Like Chocolate Boy being a celebration of Black British culture from the 90s onwards. Taking its name from the Shanks and Bigfoot hit from the late 90s, there is an element of nostalgia that plays in writer Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu’s favour. The music, the style, the attitudes and the flavour of the 90s settle the audience into something they know. The year references act as an anchor for those looking for something familiar. The great success of the writing however are the non-linear time-slips and the finely-tuned composition of the language that results in rapid fire poetry from a fired-up cast.
As a cast of four, Bernard Mensah, Alice Fofana, Michael Levi Fatogun and Jade Hackett tear through the script and the multiple characters with impressive precision, rarely rising for breath and leaving an indelible mark with their pitch perfect performances.
Hackett and Fatogun are especially on form with their bold observations of public urination and Fatogun’s parental internal monologue that shows how close to the surface tensions really are.
Sweet Like Chocolate Boy is a majestic Black cultural Odyssey that melds genres, storytelling techniques and time lines into a high octane, often incredibly moving, very funny and sharply observed 120 minutes of theatre.
Sweet Like Chocolate Boy runs at Tobacco Factory Theatres until Saturday 6th July 2019
It continues to tour:
July 13th – 14th Studio 3 Arts, Barking
July 20th Theatre Peckham, London
September 7th The Lowry, Manchester