Sweet Like Chocolate Boy is a story tale by Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu. It is cleverly performed by a cast of four and centres on the soul, garage, jungle and 90s British music scene – complete with distinct dance moves and shell suits (those who know, know).
Simultaneously, it hones in on issues of mental health illness, its effects on the black community and the consequences of overt racism in Britain. It also highlights the fight for equality and justice, which was apparent, back then and still prevalent, today. Another theme led by the character ‘Bounty’, centres on the characteristics of someone perceived as being black on the outside and white on the inside and the struggles in identifying with what makes someone ‘truly black’. Is it the way you talk, the way you dress and even down to your aspirations – these are all up for scrutiny when trying to pass the ‘are you black enough?’ test.
These talented actors deserve a high salute.
Andrew Umerah (Mars/James/Prophet/Bounty’s Dad), Michael Levi Fatogun Bounty/Policeman/Fantasia’s dad), and Veronica Lewis (Sandra/Michelle/Fantasia/Nurse) all managed to undertake the roles of three/four characters each – encapsulating several races, and various accents convincingly – without ever confusing the audience. However, we must not forget the ever-present dual role of DJ/God played majestically by Alice Fofana. These talented actors deserve a high salute.
The play kept the audience entertained via trips down memory lane with a constant musical backdrop of heavy basslines and unforgettable favourites, obviously including Sweet Like Chocolate by Shanks and Bigfoot, Incredible” by General Levy as well as mellowing smooth sounds of Mica Paris’ Give A Little Love, are a few of the priceless gems from British music that took over the inner London cultural scene.
Although the play exerts frequent humour and laugh out loud moments, this doesn’t detract from the seriousness of the underlying factors contributing to mental health and identity issues amongst the black community in Britain. A must watch!