This is a story about a place called Brent. It’s a place of Turkish restaurants, African hairdressers and Jamaican takeaways. It’s a place where 149 different languages are proudly spoken. It’s a place where young people are born and grow into old people. And, for 84 years, it was the place Patience called home – this is her story, too.
It’s the day of Patience’s funeral and hoards of people from all over Brent have turned out to celebrate her life, which causes a roadblock in the streets. DJ Vibez (a spirited performance from Marcus Beasley), a local radio presenter, hears about the commotion and calls on his listeners to help put together the pieces of the puzzle – who was this woman that everybody seems to know, and love?
The spirit of collaboration sings through Chinonyerem Odimba’s script, which takes the audience on a journey through a history of the area – tracking the bad times and the good times, too. Vicki Ibokwe’s movement direction is gorgeous in dazzling dance scenes and quieter moments alike, and Lily Arnold’s dynamic set design, which uses a variety of props to help set the mood, supports the piece well.
It is the members of the community cast who are the indisputable stars of this production: 80 of them, with connections to Brent, aged from seven to 77, filled the Kiln Theatre’s stage with honesty, heart, humour, and kindness. This is a story about a place called Brent. And this community has come together to tell it beautifully.