• Amy Toledano

The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English by Tania Nwachukwu

Image courtesy of Lexi Clare

What is it?

An exploration of family, culture, and home, through two narratives that intertwine into one.

What is it about?

Part folk-tale retelling, part contemporary story-telling, Nwachukwu looks at where cultural heritage begins and how it translates and becomes what it is today. Weaving its way through the piece is a folk tale about a place called Eze, in which a Kola Tree grows. The representation of home through this story is clear, and as Tania represents herself and her parents, she considers the importance of maintaining and preserving the lgbo language that her Nigerian family speaks, while still focusing on the beauty and love of her home, which is the UK.

How did it make me feel?

A warm and exciting start to Maiden Speech Festival, The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English is a glorious celebration of self, pride in who you are and where your roots lie. The language is poetic (unsurprisingly as Nwachukwu is also a poet), and the folk-style works perfectly beside the contemporary feel of Tania herself. Nwachukwu's comedic timing is also great, providing an open and safe atmosphere for the audience. Particularly joyful moments include songs and live music (which radiate cleverly from Nwachukwu's family, who sit to her left amongst the audience), and teaches us some of her favourite lgbo words.

Anything else?

At the end of this piece, I was left feeling as if Nwachukwu had more to give, with the tone of the show ending on quite an open-ended note. A strong narrative with powerful messages, The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English, is a lovely show and will remind you of home.

Amy x

The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English is playing on the 10th, 14th and 16th November 2019 at the Tristan Bates Theatre.

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