The Observer | Boi Boi Is Dead review – sprightly ease and emotional depth ****


Boi Boi Is Dead, but his spirit still walks the Earth, observing the effects of his demise on those closest to him and playing the trumpet melodies that earned him fame for a while (cool-with-bite Afro-jazz, composed by Michael Henry). The setting is urban Zimbabwe – huge African spaces stretched across the stage by Emma Chapman’s sunlight-and-dust lighting. Francisco Rodriguez-Weil’s cutouts tumble rooftop skylines and cleverly play with scale to exaggerate impressions of expanse beyond the immediate.

Funeral concluded, Boi Boi’s mother returns to her village; his brother Ezra lingers, to the annoyance of Boi Boi’s long-term lover. Miriam wishes Ezra would fly back to his adopted English home so that she can reveal the secret attached to Boi Boi’s death to his 16-year-old daughter, Una, and her own 24-year-old son, Petu. Her hopes are dashed by the arrival of Boi Boi’s long-separated legal wife, Una’s mother, double-trouble singer Stella.....Read more

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