Everything I Own at Brixton House

 

Photo by Ali Painter

Occasionally I go to a performance and come away thinking it could not have been done better. Everything I Own is one such performance. It’s a story about being a Black man in Britain from the arrival of the Windrush to the present day. The scene is a living room in a house in Hull which Errol is packing up following the death of his father. As he potters about the room listening to music, he recalls conversations with his father and his son. These remembered conversations – anchored around some key historical and personal events – become a narrative about the experiences of the generations of Black men who came to Britain from the Caribbean after the second world war. 

Photo by Ali Painter

Daniel Ward has written a great piece of theatre which combines a lightness of touch with confronting some harsh and shocking truths. And Tony Marshall as Errol turns in an extraordinary performance. In essence he delivers a monologue for an hour and twenty minutes. But so good is his command of pacing and timing, that never once did my attention stray. And while his ability to connect with the audience and bring the story to life speaks of great skill, it is obvious that he also feels passionately about the content.

And indeed it is a passionate play – full of humour and humanity, hidden pain and righteous anger as the reality of racism through the ages unfolds in this personal story which shines a light on the experiences of generations of Black men. The conversations between grandfather, father and son enable a line to be drawn from the Brixton uprising in 1981 to the Black Lives Matter movement of today and pose the question: “What has changed”. Certainly not the struggle for justice and fair treatment.

Photo by Ali Painter

Everything I Own is a thoughtful, moving and occasionally shocking piece of theatre. In a very real sense it is a history of Brixton. Go and see it if you can.

The play runs until 6 July in Brixton House, 385 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8GL

Tickets £22 or £12 for an elders matinee on 26 June

For further information go to www.brixtonhouse.co.uk

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