Updated: Nov 9, 2022
Written and Performed by Shakira Newton
Brixton House 1st-11th November 2022
Review by Aruna Jalloh
Things I can laugh about now is a great show and here are the songs to show you why.
Mother I Sober - Kendrick Lamar
MOMMA TALK - Tyler the Creator
When talking about the overall journey and feel of the play it had to be these two songs, let me explain why. This a heavy-hitting play that is laced with jokes and harsh realities about the character "Girl"’s teenage love life and how that impacts her as an adult in a group therapy session. It was hard to find a single song that encompasses both humour and had heavy-hitting truths in them hence why Mother I Sober and MOMMA TALK worked well together. In Mother I Sober we hear Kendrick go into his past traumatic events during his childhood and break his own generational cycles and curses through therapy which is what Girl is trying to achieve.
What also serves as an engine in this play is the jokes Girl makes about her trauma in order to get through it. This is why Tyler’s MOMMA TALK is a great comparison to this aspect of the show. Tyler uses this bright sunshiny instrumental that has this flute in it whilst his Mum talks to someone about what she would do to protect her son. Though it’s sweet, funny and shows the love she has for him it’s also quite dark just like Girl making light of her own traumatic experiences and identity issues. So whilst Mother I sober captures the emotional journey and personal revelations, MOMMA TALK captures the duality of the show; finding the humour in her trauma.
Issmad - Jme
Okay, let’s talk about the writing… it's mad. There are punchlines and cleverly written set ups that are sharp and poignant. They are hard to miss, pretty much like Jme’s -Issmad. He uses one topic, a letter from the alphabet, which leads him to making endless punchlines and this is a theme the listener can grasp onto easily. I can’t say too much about the punchlines in this show, you would just have to buy a ticket to the show to understand what I mean but the audience is a part of the set ups too.
Misunderstood - Little Simz
I wanted to shine a light on how simple and stripped-back the set was. It has two chairs, few lighting and sound cues which allows Shakira Newton to tell the story of Girl in a vulnerable, humorous and honest way. Which is similar to Little Simz - Misunderstood, where there is a simple drum beat, looped piano, a looped vocal singing “don’t stop” and Little Simz rapping tenderly and honestly over it about her experiences. This is how it felt watching Shakira Newton tell this story with minimal set, you was really drawn in.
Things I can laugh about now play calls on the audience’s vulnerability and laughter as much as Girl, I mean it is group therapy after all, and asks you to take a deeper look at yourself. It is great play and definitely worth an evening to the theatre.