... The performers in The Engagement were all quite animated, and I enjoyed the way it’s presented as a mating dance. When Ronke (Janine John) and Elemude (Ari Millen) start bickering, they actually start sniffing and pecking like a rooster and a hen. Also fun was the drummer who doesn’t speak (though the characters do acknowledge him), but provides the play with a soundtrack. The Engagement offers a good opportunity to see some authentic African drumming and singing.
The second piece, Flood, takes a completely different tone. Where The Engagement is bright and colourful, Flood is bare and dark. This short piece had a lot of story for only being 30 minutes long.
When a flood strikes an African village, a son (Chisom Darlington) comes to rescue his father (John Phillips), only to find out that the elder doesn’t want to leave his home. The father clings to his memories and belief that the “goddess” will protect him, while the son tries to point out the realities in front of them. This is your basic “family secrets” play, but I enjoyed Osofisan’s take on it. There was one point in the story where an audio recording was a little difficult to hear, but otherwise I thought it was a strong production...
As someone who watches a lot of theatre in this town, there are still so many companies yet to discover. And it’s always a treat to discover one as entertaining and professional as this one. I would certainly seek out more work by AfriCan Theatre Ensemble, and I think this double bill is a good intro because as the name suggests, you get to see some wrath and a little bit of play, so something is guaranteed to suit your appetite