HOW TO BREATHE by Mufaro Makubika
Neville Suite, Nottingham Playhouse.
From a small age we all enjoy listening to stories and as we grow older that love of listening to stories does not diminish. The stories just get more real. I also love theatre that doesn't shy away from being different and so as both of these come together in "How To Breathe", it made it all the more exciting.
Joseph ( Trevor Mugarisanwa ) tells the story of his childhood, his memories of his family and friends and his choice to join the army. Joseph is black and because of this he is viewed in a different way to the others; they call him "Toke" in the barracks, which is short for "token black". He tells of his army life and why this causes the downfall of his best friend and his friendship. It also weighs heavy on his mind and causes him to take drastic action.
Set in The Neville Suite of the Nottingham Playhouse, which is the smaller, more intimate setting above The Cast Bar, and is perfect for a play of this kind. Very powerful and emotive and Trevor is excellent at interpreting the story and words of the plays' author Mufaro Makubika.
It is a story that will make you think while you are at the theatre and also when you leave, such is the strength and the power of the spoken word.
The set is not important and the props are minimal. the seating has been removed and replaced by billet beds. This creates such an atmosphere in itself as you feel that Joseph is just telling you his story in the privacy of his mess hall, and it is easy to forget that there are others in the same room. (That is until some idiot's mobile phone goes off... on several occasions... Get some theatre etiquette and do not answer your phone during the performance. Switch it off!).
Trevor delivers a full hour of passionate outpourings and the ending will come as quite a shock. There is imaginative lighting from Nick Morris and some nice sound effects sourced and created by sound designer Adam P McCready and directed with great feeling and passion by Esther Richardson.
"How To Breathe" is definitely worth seeing and is on at The Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 21 February 2015