cheeky little brown: solo show on friendship breakups

A failed night out and the ending of a 20-year-old friendship sure make one want to drink alcohol and have some kebabs.

cheeky little brown: solo show on friendship breakups

cheeky little brown written by Nkenna Akunna and directed by Chinonyerem Odimba is a one-woman musical about a failed night out and the ending of a 20-year-old friendship, exploring the struggles of being in your 20s, exploration of queerness, emotional eating disorder and being a black girl in London.

After not seeing each other for 6 months, Lady gets an invite to her best friend Gemma’s birthday party. Lady is struggling with the changes Gemma has gone through after they went separate ways for university and after a fight causing their fallout for 6 months, she is worried she might now be her ex-best friend. But it’s them, right? So, it should be fine? Things don’t go as she wants them to.

Lady is a sharp-tongued, sassy character and in general a hot mess. Tiajna Amayo does a brilliant job presenting the fierce but vulnerable spirit of Lady, as well as making the audience laugh. After suffering injuries in rehearsals, Tiajna performed with clutches and made them perfectly work with the show and the movement that was part of the performance. It even added an additional layer to the play. She also has a very strong voice that made the original songs of the play a pleasure to listen to.

The whole play feels like Lady is reading out a diary entry which at times makes it monotonous and too explanatory. The stage feels too empty without the characters being spoken of not being on stage, especially Gemma who is an important character. While Tiajna does a great job personalising the impersonate characters, there is still a feeling of void and a lack of dynamic and action. The connection between Gemma and Lady was not completely encapsulated without Gemma’s presence on stage.

I had the chance to see the BSL interpreted performance and the interpreter, Vinessa Brant was great at becoming a part of the performance as if she was a character. If even with her dominant and entertaining presence on the stage the play felt like missing something, I would imagine the stage to feel even more empty in the other performances.

Much of the key topics of the play a revealed, and in a way, crammed into the last half hour of the 1.5-hour play which means there wasn’t enough exploration of them. Gemma and Lady have a complex relationship that we struggle to understand for the first half of the play and even is not explored in-depth.

Since 2022, cheeky little brown has been performed at different UK theatres. While they said goodbye to Stradford East, if this play interests you, keep an eye out for future performances.

Header Image Credit: Craig Fuller


Aysel Dilara Kasap

Aysel Dilara Kasap Voice Reviewers

I am a writer, the editor-in-chief of the non-profit creative writing website Feather Pen and a publishing hopeful. I am passionate about books while being a music and theatre enthusiast and generally enjoying all forms of art.

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