Review Round Up: Lava, Bush Theatre

We round up the reviews for Benedict Lombe’s play starring Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo.

(c)Helen Murray

The Guardian: **** “Adékoluẹjo is a dazzling, captivating storyteller and joyous dancer. Under Anthony Simpson-Pike’s direction, she controls the stage with such ease, oozing charm and confidence.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “Lava is an engrossing and exciting piece of theatre. But that is far from the only reason you should see it.”

Evening Standard: **** “Lava is delightfully ungoverned. I can see a different universe where I might have described it as more lecture than theatre. But the quality of the writing, of Adékoluẹjo’s performance, and Anthony Simpson-Pike’s direction keep it on the side of urgency.” “Lava is very well-presented with director Anthony Simpson-Pike developing a memorable piece of drama from Lombe’s lyrical and carefully-phrased text.”

The Stage: **** “Benedict Lombe’s expansive debut, charting the Black experience with the emphasis on Black joy, is fuelled by a powerful central performance.”

LondonTheatre1: **** “While Lava speaks truth to power, the main emphasis is on telling it like it is to theatregoers, providing some details not always easy to come across elsewhere.”

Time Out: “Adékoluejo is such a titanic presence she sort of irons out the kinks by charisma alone, blitzing through it all with a radiant, room-filling self-assuredness, effortlessly turning on sixpence as she switches from affable mateyness to flashing fury to an amusing impression of her mum.”

The Telegraph: *** “Switch on the radio or TV, especially in the last week, and it’s the topic on everyone’s lips: is Britain a racist country? Go to the theatre and the chances are you’ll be left pondering the same.”

The Times: **** “Heat radiates from this debut play by the British Congolese writer Benedict Lombe. A monologue about diaspora, identity and belonging, it seethes with rage and pain, and glows with joy, a celebration of black strength and excellence, as much as an unflinching social and historical reckoning. Lombe’s writing has a sinewy poeticism and warm, effortless wit.”

Lava continues to play at the Bush Theatre until the 7th August

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