Nine Night

National Theatre
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As playwright debuts go, Natasha Gordon’s Nine Night has to be up there as one of Britain’s finest

Alongside director Roy Alexander Weise, a stellar cast including Cecilia Noble and a killer set design, Nine Night is a theatre gem that I sincerely hope the National Theatre are already in talks to bring back.

Nine Night is bound together with classic Caribbean reggae and soca anthems, which for me are the soundtrack to every family celebration I’ve ever been to

Instantly, the set design by Rajha Shakiry sets the bar, that what lies ahead is a production that has taken authenticity seriously. I may as well have been sitting in the kitchen of one of my elder family members; such was the microscopic attention to detail. From the wallpaper to the plastic flowers, the rubber plant and the eclectic mix of fridge magnets, I knew that my beloved Caribbean heritage was being showcased from a place of love.

Nine Night is a Caribbean tradition involving nine nights of mourning and celebrating the life of our dearly departed for nine consecutive nights usually at the family home. At this extended wake, there is rum, food, dancing, prayers, singing hymns, storytelling, music and did I say rum? Yes, there’s plenty of that. It is the coming together of friends and family and a chance to pay tribute to the deceased – paying respects and offering support but as you can imagine, the intensity of the experience, can lead to a situation fraught with tensions and emotions quietly bubbling away under the surface.

Nine Night is a theatre gem that I sincerely hope the National Theatre are already in talks to bring back.

In this production, the ‘Nine Night’ is for Gloria who was cared for by her doting daughter, Lorraine (Franc Ashman). Gloria is neither seen nor heard. Single parent Lorraine has one daughter Anita (Rebekah Murrell) and a brother, Robert (Oliver Alvin-Wilson). The play centres on the the rawness of grief with humour, and adept sensitivity that transcend racial and cultural differences. The cast includes Aunt Maggie (Cecilia Noble) and husband Uncle Vince (Ricky Fearon) and Robert’s partner Sophie and the black sheep of the family, Trudy (Michelle Greenidge).

Much to the annoyance of Gloria, Auntie Maggie and Uncle Vince’s purpose is to constantly remind them, the younger generation, about the traditions surrounding Nine Night and exactly how things should be done – there is no straying away.

NEED TO KNOW: Nine Night is at the National Theatre until 26 May 2018 | See listing | BOOK TICKETS NOW | See my press night Instagram post