• Drama
  • By Sabrina Mahfouz
  • Directed by Kirsty Patrick Ward
  • Cast: Jade Anouka
  • Soho Theatre, London
  • Until 4 July 2015
  • Review by Lettie Mckie
  • 20 June 2015
5.0Reviewer's Rating

Every so often a play comes along that ticks all the boxes; script, acting, set and story come together in perfect harmony to create a performance that will be loved and remembered by all who see it. Chef is one of these productions. Short and cunningly simple it has nevertheless already achieved well-deserved recognition from the Scotsman with their First Fringe Award 2014.

Written by Sky Academy Arts Scholar Sabrina Mahfouz it is a spoken word piece which utterly breaks the mould with a mix of lyricism and bold storytelling, original description and fast paced rhythms effortlessly synergised to the verse in a combination which is extremely difficult to achieve. Jade Anouka is electrifying as she bounds around the stage as Chef, the character’s enthusiasm palpable in a carefully controlled performance, pent up emotion bursting out of her as the story builds to its heart rending climax.

It is particularly poignant that the story which so grips the audience is one that is only being told now that it is too late. Chef tells the story of a woman who is in prison and is inspired by workshops with ex-inmates and the story reveals how her voice is consistently silenced by those in authority, those who should have been listening. The audience are therefore placed in the heart breaking position of hearing a story they are powerless to change, the power in the performance that they fall in love with a character that they cannot save.

Chef is a shining example of everything that poetry on stage can be; slick, imaginative and resonant contemporary verse.


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