Review: Inkel & Yariko, by Jonathan Lichtenstein, Pulse Fringe Festival, Ipswich, May 28

Inkel & Yariko, by Jonathan Lichtenstein, Pulse Fringe Festival, Ipswich, May 28

This story of black exploitation by white and female by male spans two centuries.

In the 1790s a white aristocrat not only forgoes his love of a black African woman for wealth and position he sells her into slavery.

Two hundred years later - eight generations down the line of the same white family – a black servant girl is raped.

As in Ibsen’s play, Ghosts, the sins of the father are visited upon the sons and the past returns to haunt the present.

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This rehearsed reading – at the climax of a week in which the script had been work-shopped – was slickly presented, the actors working hard to create an emotional and tense atmosphere, enhanced by the singing of a four-strong, choir.

Whether having the singers on stage added anything to the drama is debatable – it was perhaps worth a try.

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In the drama itself there were few new ideas to black/white conflict and some of the characters – in the script or in this interpretation – verged on the caricature, particularly the aristocrat in the early scene and the manservant and friend in both time warps, a character who might have been more at home in a sit-com.

The balance in this full-length play also seemed skewed, little sympathy being attracted by the main white characters – largely self-orientated snobs, bigots and bores.

However, director, Peter Rowe, teased out some terrific performances, particularly from Georgina White as Narcissa, Gracy <correct> Goldman as Yariko and Samantha Pearl as Wski.

David Green

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