Review: Subira at Brighton Fringe
Subira, in Swahili, means patience. Something Subira Wahogo is quickly running out of...
Subira Wahogo. BRIGHTON FRINGE
Climb the narrow stairs leading from the pub to the theatre down at "The Marly" and you’re bound to find yourself in the midst of a show that is as incredibly insightful and intelligent as it is moving and funny. The Marlborough Theatre in Brighton rarely disappoints - and Subira’s solo show was no exception.
A poetic force to be reckoned with, Subira Wahogo and their debut show was a testimony to spoken word at its freshest. They delivered a fantastic performance, successfully selling out both their debut shows at Brighton Fringe, traversing the personal and the political to highlight the realities of existing in a racist culture - whoever said poetry wasn’t popular was seriously mistaken.
At the beginning of the show Subira offers a disclaimer warning the audience that some elements of their performance might make people uncomfortable. Subira isn’t afraid to discuss sexual and racial violence and emphasises the need to discuss these issues more openly rather than shy away from topics often seen as taboo.
With a blend of anecdotes that capture the casual racism and ignorance that so often gets blurted out and thrown around like it’s nothing, Subira gives a powerful depiction of what it means to be a queer person of colour in the UK today.
Responding to statements like, “She’s just angry because she’s black”, Subira demonstrates exactly why they have plenty of reasons to be angry and frustrated with the systemic racism in the UK. Throughout the performance Subira evokes the way society marks them as different.
On top of that, Subira delivers an ode to the fist that punched their best friend’s rapist. Transforming confrontations with sexual aggressors into moments of raw energy and solidarity. From love letters to their strong and powerful hands, Subira moves on to describe their anger at constantly being compared to objects of consumption - namely food.
From coffee, to tahina, to exotic fruits, women of colour are frequently reduced to things that we eat, that can be packaged, bought and consumed. And Subira has had enough. The poem is performed against a film where women of colour throw food at immobile white men, dramatising structural inequality.
Inviting their twin on stage the show concludes with a Twerking 101, ending the show with a celebration of body confidence and a standing ovation from the packed theatre.
Engaging and relevant, Subira’s spoken word performance is as moving as it is necessary. Their poetry is refreshing, honest and vibrant, a wealth of emotion is laid bare in lines that entangle personal experiences, laughter, rage and vulnerability.
If you’re into poetry, politics, feminism or hearing queer people tell their stories, then keep your eyes and ears peeled for Subira’s next move in the world of spoken word.
Brighton Fringe runs until 3 June 2018, for their full line up and tickets visit brightonfringe.org
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