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Festival Review: HEAR WORD! ****

Joy Watters reviews a production that 'makes its points honestly and engagingly'.

Artists from around the globe are exploring where we are now in the EIF’s You Are Here programme, and from Nigeria comes a provoking and entertaining examination of the inequality of women in Nigeria. Co-written and directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa, HEAR WORD!’s cast is a ten-strong female group who portray women young and old in a series of fast-moving scenes which urge change and action.

HEAR WORD! is pidgin English for “listen and comply” and this look at gender subjugation shows us that a lot of women are not for complying. The play stresses that all women have to be part of the movement for change

This punchy play with music shows sexual violence against young girls and women, wife beating and widows being treated as chattels. And now they have to cope with groping in the office in addition to the centuries old sexist practices.

It is not a didactic piece but makes its points honestly and engagingly, managing to put the spotlight on horrendous practices with power and using humour to show how women can be their own worst enemies in fighting for equality.

The music, provided by three male percussionists, is an inspired touch as the beats both interplay with the words and provide the accompaniment for the dancing and singing which run throughout.

It is a great looking show; the short sharp scenes are illuminated by spotlights like a cabaret act as out of the darkness comes a new challenging idea. Beautifully costumed by Ituen Basi using traditional and contemporary wear, the women’s clothes glow like gems in the bright light.

Run ended.

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