7th Sept 2021
Written and performed by Kema Sikazwe
Directed by Graeme Thompson
Back in May 2019, long before Covid was a thing, I went along to Live Theatre to see a show by a new young performer. I wasn't sure what to expect - the writer and performer was billed as a hip hop, rap artist - not my two most favourite music genres. But I put on my optimistic happy face and hoped for the best...I should have known better. This was Live Theatre and they had never disappointed me yet. Naturally I was blown away by the performance. (Spikemike...is breaking a leg: Shine - Review - Live Theatre (spikemikeisbreakingaleg.blogspot.com) )
Two years later I was back to see the same artist perform the same show. I wondered if it would be as good as I remembered.
It was. It is.
Shine - what better show to reopen the doors of a theatre after a year of darkness?
Kema Sikazwe's story is as vital and important as ever, his performance is just as energetic and bold. He commands the space, moving across the stage with an energy and confidence that belies his youth. It's a confidence born out of experience and self awareness. He tells his story with a perfect balance of humour and heartbreak. We absolutely feel the joys and the pains of being a black kid growing up in Newcastle's West End. We laugh with him over his attempts to fit in, to master not just the English language and culture but the Geordie too. And we share his anger and pain when all his attempts to fit in fail.
Life for a young Zambian born boy growing up in Newcastle is hard. Tragedy strikes more than once and almost breaks him, but his name is Kema - the one who shines - and his mother bestowed on him the music,it is in his soul, This gift from his mother is what brings him through the darkness to find his light and to Shine!
This funny, poignant, heartbreaking yet hope-filled story is the perfect post-pandemic tonic. Shine runs until Saturday 18th September. buy a ticket and come out of the darkness and be astonished by the light that is Kema Kay.