Have Mercy on Liverpool Street – review

Published: Friday, June 27, 2014 10:33 AM | Review by: Lloyd Lewis Hayter |
Have Mercy on Liverpool Street Have Mercy on Liverpool Street

“Have Mercy on Liverpool Street” (directed by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) explores the relationships between the older and younger generations of African immigrants residing in London. Aunty Mercy and Enoch’s dynamic after 16 years of marriage is played out alongside the young love of Adumu and Dupe, highlighting the cultural differences and differing ambitions of the two couples. This is Sabo Kpade’s first play and he has chosen Aunty Mercy, a fierce middle aged woman as his main protagonist. +


It would have been easy to write Aunty Mercy as a caricature of a character, but while she does spout some well-known African remarks Mercy is notably better written than most of Sabo Kpade’s male characters. A strong business woman, Mercy’s vulnerability and bravado can be glimpsed right from the first scene as she explains her distrust of her friend and husband in a side note to the audience.

An exciting new addition to Britain’s wealth of playwrights, Sabo Kpade’s ability to open up lesser known characters and communities to a range of audiences is worth investing in.


While this talent in writing extremely humanized characters is consistent throughout, the characters’ true feelings and intentions could be unraveled more naturally than with the use of side notes and constant secretive conversations resulting in a more farcical feel than possibly intended. The struggle between the younger characters’ westernized culture and their elders would also be interesting to see explored further.


An exciting new addition to Britain’s wealth of playwrights, Sabo Kpade’s ability to open up lesser known characters and communities to a range of audiences is worth investing in.


Info: Talawa Firsts continues until June 27th, 2014.


Related links

Review – Q&A with Roy Williams
Review – No God No Girls
Karla Williams – interview, No God No Girls




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