Marble Cake

Growing up as a child and being different is never easy and this piece of theatre is clearly written from experience and the heart by dynamic duo Nathaniel Allen and Olivia Penhallow. The play raises the questions, 'do you know where you come from?', 'what is your family heritage and should your culture define you as a person?'. 

Set in the intimate living room of the family home, you feel involved from the very beginning. Kumi gets an unexpected visit from his sister Keisha after 8 months of no contact. It’s very clear that the pair have grown apart and Kumi is determined to find out what she wants.  The cracks start to show as the pair air their differences and the gritty story unravels.

Olivia Penhallow (Keisha) bursts on to stage with such energy, she is really strong and commands the stage very well as she leads the action. We quickly establish the characters and things get interesting as the power shifts back and forth, both siblings desperately trying to have the upper hand. 

Nathaniel Allen is incredibly endearing as Kumi, he reflects on his childhood and we see a lot of resentment towards his sister. You see the damage not having a father figure around has caused as well as trying to hold everything together when sometimes you have nothing left, he plays this part very well. The chemistry between the pair is electric from the very beginning, you see the drift and how polar opposites the pair have become as they clash and yet it’s evident the love is still there as the pair reminisce and dance to songs from their childhood. 

Music is so important and I really like how for those few moments they forget about all the conflict, enjoy each other’s company and laugh as though they were kids again. The dynamics and the love/hate relationship between the two makes for an interesting watch. The play does what it sets out to do and gets the audience talking about race and rightly so with the BLM movement, but this piece goes further and explores dual heritage and handles this sensitive subject very well. 

You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, and every family has its ups and downs, but it’s important to talk. You never know what is going on with someone behind closed doors, so don’t assume, as this cleverly executed piece of theatre shows.

You can follow Olivia and Nathan over on Instagram - @chequered_theatre_co

Photo from rehearsals

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