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Theatre Review: White @ Ovalhouse

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White – the first piece in Koko Brown’s The Colour Trilogy, is a one-woman exploration of mixed-race identity in modern-day Britain, told through spoken word, song, projection and the use of Brown’s trademark loop pedal.

In this case, the production is inseparable from the artist; it is an intimate exploration of self. Brown uses her experience to reflect and attempt to understand the subject, posing questions as much for herself as for the audience. We follow her stream of consciousness, and are transported into the vivid world of her thought-process. The narrative is cleverly structured to explore her own identity, with the use of repetition to examine, define and redefine herself.

Brown approaches the subject unreservedly with humour and a complex personal perspective. The spoken-word sections are striking, transitioning between original compositions which are constructed live through Brown’s inventive use of the loop pedal. Despite her unfaltering vocals, the songs lacked the lyrical complexity and depth present in the spoken word. However, the instrumental largely compensated for this.

Operating within a simple set, the production utilises every element to full effect – from the use of sound throughout, to the light design which is slick and imaginative; combined with Brown’s energy and momentum, the 45-minute piece is focused and cohesive. The structure has a clear trajectory which avoids becoming predictable.

White is a realisation of Brown’s opinions and internal dialogue - less a call to action, more an invitation to listen. Koko Brown demonstrates total control over her environment, where she is felt within every facet of this production – it is a pleasure to see an artist so deeply immersed within their own work, and well worth going to see White for.

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