God's Property - Chima (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Liam (Bradley Gardner) and Onochie (Ash Hunter) - Credit Helen Maybanks
Set in 1982, Chima (Kingsley Ben-Adi) has just returned home to Deptford. He goes home with the hopefulness of salvaging a relationship with his mum and younger brother, Onochie (Ash Hunter). The brothers both come from a mixed race background and feel very differently about it. Chima has spent the last ten years in jail after being blamed for the death of a local white girl. Onochie is now a skinhead and doesn’t see himself as black. He has spent those ten years being the man of the house and trying to uphold the family name after being so badly tarnished by Chima.
God’s Property by Arinze Kene is one of those plays you need to go and see to get a real sense of real playwriting. Sitting in the audience watching the show, I became so immersed in the drama that I felt like I was part of the action
These brothers are polar opposites and Chima is hoping that he can open his brother’s eyes and ears to his advice about being proud to be black. They are living in a time of high unemployment, especially for blacks and riots are taking place because people aren’t happy. Onochie knows what side of the white, black divide he stands on and he’s favoring the skinheads. Things soon escalate as the wider community becomes aware of Chima’s arrival and a decision has to be made, but will Onochie make the right one?
God's Property - Chima (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and Onochie (Ash Hunter) - Credit Helen Maybanks
The relationship between the two brothers, for me is the heart of the story. Two brothers so different, yet so similar. Beautifully portrayed by Ben-Adi and Hunter, who show us the friction and turmoil both brothers have. You see the unraveling of pain crumble away as the two come to grips with the real truth about each other.
God’s Property by Arinze Kene is one of those plays you need to go and see to get a real sense of real playwriting. Sitting in the audience watching the show, I became so immersed in the drama that I felt like I was part of the action. I was a fly on the wall, privy to their domestic privacy and I relished every moment. For me, it was brilliance in the making.
The theme and idea about identity is still current today and very poignant. Like then, we live in a time of unemployment, riots and the struggle for identity and wanting to fit in within a community. It leaves you with something to think and talk about. That can never be a bad thing, surely?