THEATRE REVIEW: Human Nurture at Sheffield Studio

THEATRE REVIEW: Human Nurture at Sheffield Studio

By Phil Turner | 31/01/2022

THEATRE REVIEW: Human Nurture at Sheffield Studio

BLACK and white unite or divide and rule?

That seems to be the question being asked by Ryan Calais Cameron’s powerful discourse on race and class in Britain.

Lucas Button's white working class teenager Harry is at home, set to celebrate his 18th birthday, feeling alone.

A surprise knock on the door sees the arrival of best friend Roger (Justice Ritchie), a young black man who he grew up with in care, both abandoned one way or another.

Eating cake, they excitedly relive favourite shared moments of sadness and fun, singing and dancing to the music of their close bond.

But things have changed for Roger, now wanting to be known as Runaku, since the protests after the death of George Floyd.

Runaku is asserting his own British-African identity with the help of his Ugandan uncle, his new black girlfriend and a place at university.

He wants Harry to join him on his journey but Harry has a secret social media life — where he attacks the notion of white privilege and infers that he can’t be racist because his best friend is black.

The spell is broken as Runaku describes his first experience of shocking racism during a prank together as kids, of which Harry is unaware.

Runaku finally confronts the boy he thought of as his brother but who now represents the racism he knows has to be fought.

His anger at being “black-friended” and enduring his old anglicised name runs deep. He delivers a glowering definition of white privilege: “It’s not about what you’ve been through — it’s about what you'll never have to go through.”

Immaculately directed by Rob Watt, it’s a superbly-acted, compelling play for today at just an hour long.

The bleak Tara Usher set design perfectly reflects Harry’s life, while the presence of DJ Neeta Sarl playing music throughout connects to the two young pals’ early dreams of “making it big”.

This is a tense, thoughtful play that reflects the hope for people to change themselves in the changing times around them.






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