• Amy Toledano

Little Miss Burden presented by Harts Theatre Company and The Bunker

Image courtesy Kofi Dwaah

What Is It?

Little Miss Burden by Matilda Ibini presented by the Bunker Theatre is a coming-of-age tale about a girl with passion, heart, and a physical disability.

What Is It About?

Big Sis (Michelle Tiwo) was the first to arrive, and she won’t let you forget it. But she lived as an only child for just 4 years before Little Miss (Saida Ahmed) stepped onto the scene. Then, came Little Sis (Ani Nelson), completing their trio. When the performance begins, Big Sis and Little Sis tell us about their lives — they’re Hackney residents of Nigerian decent, with a loving and warm single mother. But where’s Little Miss? After the first scene, she rolls onto the stage — literally. Little Miss is wheelchair bound and explains that this show will not be like Hollywood or the West End; the people who are at the centre of this story will not be white- or able-bodied-washed by performers who look nothing like them. From the very beginning, the audience knows who is in charge.

Throughout the performance, we learn and grow with Little Miss, with her two sisters playing all supporting roles. We learn about her journey to and through her diagnosis and watch as she builds friendships and learns what really happens during sex. Life for Little Miss isn’t easy, but through song, dance, video games, and girl bands, it becomes colourful and exciting.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

This piece is phenomenal. At the start of the show, the actors inform the audience that they were allowed to enjoy the show however they see fit, and by granting us this permission, makes the show that much better. An important aspect of Black/African theatre is call and response, and by allowing the audience to engage in this way, it enhances the performance. There is a moment where Little Sis is teaching the audience the correct way to say “plantain” only to have an audience member object, causing the room to erupt with laughter. Little Miss Burden feels less like a typical night at the theatre and more like a gathering of a community. It is hilarious, refreshing, and moving.

Anything Else? 

You will laugh and learn from beginning to end. All the performers are fantastic and engaging. This show is a must-see!

Rebecca x

Little Miss Burden is playing at the Bunker Theatre until the 21st December 2019.

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