Bush Theatre
Review by: Nicole Sylvester
Published: Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 12:48pm

Urielle Klein-Mekongo is an amazing one-woman dynamo who sings, writes and performs the whole lot. You’d be forgiven for thinking that maybe she really is a 13-year-old, as she encapsulates modern youth perfectly… She looks very young. I took my 12-year-old daughter with me and she was roaring with laughter in minutes at the familiar situations about ‘butters gyal’ and ‘peng’ boys’ – she had the slang down to a ‘t’: “Oh my god mum! She knows man, she just knows. She, like, totally understands my life!”

Urielle Klein-Mekongo is an amazing one-woman dynamo

You can’t help but warm to ‘Evie’ immediately. She’s a young schoolgirl bursting with fun and has these chubby cheeks you’re dying to pinch. She tells us the story of her life through acting, singing, and spoken word. She has a strict African mother, a crush on Lewis and aspirations of being a rapper. What starts as an amusing peek into teenage life -like getting caught shaving her pubes in her crush’s bathroom, soon becomes quite uncomfortable viewing because we are rooting for Evie now but there’s this strange sense of foreboding that doesn’t go away. I feel it’s always a risky business when you are the only performer in a play. There’s no one to bounce off, no cues to take leads from. But this sad little story actually needs the attention that a solo performer commands.

I was glad I brought my daughter – maybe it’s the generational thing, because she predicted (quite smugly) the big thing that was going to happen and whispered it in my ear -way before I did. And I had mixed emotions about her clear understanding of what preempted the traumatic scenes. It takes great skill to write and perform a piece that speaks to both a young and older audience. What stood out for me was the unusual echo recording technique that Klein-Mekongo used to create the music that accompanies her words. I’d definitely like to see more of her work.

NEED TO KNOW: Yvette is at The Bush Theatre until 4th June 2019 | See listings | BOOK TICKETS