Palm Wine and Stout buzz blog

Update 5 Tuesday  6 May

Palm Wine and Stout  is entering its last few weeks, so if you haven’t caught up with this wonderful show yet now is the time – before its gone! All the remaining dates – including our usual residency in Woodbridge – are here.

Here’s a quick summary and links to all the press so far:-

If air miles were theatre miles it would be well worth spending them to jet off and see Palm Wine & Stout….it is apparent that there are distinct parallels between British and African society and that family relationships, whether black or white, are really not that different….Cash in the theatre miles for a good night out. (Andrew Clarke in EADT)

 It’s a really interesting, challenging and sometimes unsettling piece of work by Mancunian Lee-French…. Its themes are universal ones which you will recognise: family, fatherhood, the city and the village, and the meaning of ‘home’ – where the heart is, or where the hurt is ?  You’ll also discover why stout is a Nigerian staple. Guinness, they say, is good for you but add some Palm Wine to that and you’ve really got a cocktail to remember and recommend. (Doug Combes in In Suffolk)

Segun Lee-French’s fascinating play is embarking on a major regional tour….Lee-French’s writing is often poetical; the narrative is compelling…. Ivan Cutting’s production is gloriously theatrical, with the four actors playing a myriad of parts, plucking costume detail from four well-stocked hat-stands….An eventful, often humorous, personal journey to the heart of Africa and a sense of identity. (Michael Gray in The Public Reviews)

Segun Lee-French’s semi-autobiographical tale of a family reunion and the resulting culture clashes, bereavement and money wrangling, is back for another tour….. It’s  an endearing play themed around two visits to rural Nigerian…the African folk songs, together with the simple choreography and costuming, are a delight (Ben Sharratt in The Stage)

**** . Sioned Jones‘ Jane is balanced by her metamorphosing into Jonas, an elder on the make in more senses than one.Antoinette Marie Tagoe has all the authority of rank when playing Stella and that of revered age when she is Cynthia.   Ricci McLeod conveys all the levels of exasperation which overwhelm Taiye – he’s interested in his native background but concerned about his urban future; he’s happy to see his father and half-brother, but disturbed by alien attitudes to the dead as well as to the living. Femi is a happy-go-lucky young man on the outside, but he too has frustrations which eventually boil over. Itoya Osagiede switches from this into Abraham’s certainties as a respected chief who accepts his different levels of obligation with ease. (Anne Morley-Priestman – Whats on Stage)

Eastern Angles’ traditional Spring Tour audience should find much here which is familiar.  In true Spring Tour fashion all bar the lead play a number of other parts, with Sioned Jones’ versatility shown by swapping sexes to play village elder Jonas and Antoinette Marie Tagoe ageing dramatically between Abraham’s wife Stella and Taiye’s Aunt.  However Itoya Osagiede’s transformation from Taiye’s cocky, macho brother Femi to his assured but slightly untrustworthy Father, Abraham, was a highlight.  On the surface it appeared that this was achieved with no more than the donning of a safari jacket and a pair of glasses but his subtle change of posture, tone and crucially the pace of these two characters gave the distinct impression  that Osagiede is an actor totally in tune with his craft: it was delightful to watch……Yes it may be Nigeria but the unfamiliarity of the setting serves only to demonstrate the familiarity of attitudes.  West Africa may be nearer to East Anglia than we realised! (Steve Hawthorne, Grapevine Magazine)

Update 4 Tuesday 2 April

Another review in – this time from David Vaas on Diss Corn Hall‘s very active blog .

Palm Wine & Stout is an absorbing, original and thought provoking examination of no less than what multi-cultural means in a global village

You can read David’s full blog post about the Diss Review. The audience feedback is coming in thick and fast too, here is just one example of a recent quote from an audience member in Peterborough:-

Wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed ‘Palm Wine & Stout’ at the Key Theatre, Peterborough, on the 20th March. We lived in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, during the early 90s and found the dialogue, culture and attitudes in the play accurate, evocative and remindful! the actors worked their socks off and all were excellent.

We’re almost a third of the way through the tour now (full tour details here). If you’d like a flavour of the places and the venues we have been playing then do follow actress Sioned Jones on twitter (@misssionedjones). Sioned has been posting a pic a day from each venue, well worth checking out!

Update 3 Monday 24th March

Lets start with video trailer for the show, have a watch here and do share!:-

Reviews have started to come in. Here’s a quick summary of the five so far.

Anne Morley-Priestman gives the show **** in her review for What’s On Stage. Michael Gray in his review for Public Reviews finds the show:-

‘An eventful, often humorous, personal journey to the heart of Africa’

Ben Sharrett in The Stage calls the show a delight whilst In Suffolk calls the play interesting, challenging and sometimes unsettling as it deals in universal themes exploring ‘family, fatherhood, the city and the village, and the meaning of ‘home’ – where the heart is, or where the hurt is ?’ Steve Hawthorne in the Grapevine finds that

at its heart Lee-French’s story is a classic tale of the innocent abroad confronted with town versus country hostilities and the petty manoeuvring of village politics

And to finish this buzz update here’s some audio content about the show. Tickets and tour details can be found over at

Clement Ule leads the cast in rehearsal, see a flickr feed for more images

Clement Ule leads the cast in rehearsal, see a flickr feed for more images

Update 2 – Sunday 2 March

As we hurtle towards opening week (in the town of Eye on Thursday!) why not take a moment to read In Suffolk’s preview of Palm Wine and Stout (which also includes other theatrical gems like the New Wolsey/Graeae version of Threepenny Opera which has been opened to rave reviews).


On the Eastern Angles web site you can also catch up with actor Itoya Osagiede thoughts from the first week here and below listen into actress Antoinette Tagoe interview with Foz on BBC Radio Suffolk.


As ever ticket information is available on the Eastern Angles web site here and you can see a map of where we are playing here.

Update 1 – Feb 24th

wpid-Palm-Wine-Stout-Full-Cast-Ricci-McLeod-Sioned-Jones-Itoya-Osagiede-Antionette-Marie-Tagoe.jpg.jpegAs we enter week 3 of rehearsal for #PalmWineandStout it seems an appropriate time to start a buzz blog. Opening night – in Eye – after all, is creeping ever nearer!

First up a couple of audio interviews. Here’s Palm Wine and Stout writer Segun Lee French talking about the show;

‘expect to be surprised, expect to have a very lively experience and one that moves you emotionally’

And here is Clement Ule, the shows Director of Music

‘we want our audiences to be relaxed, to enjoy a little bit of African texture..audiences should expect entertainment, an opportunity to relax and enjoy a bit of African culture’

wpid-Palm-Wine-Stout-Itoya-Osagiede-Antoinette-Marie-Tagoe-Ricci-McLeod.jpg.jpegThere was a lovely piece about the show in East Anglia Daily Times. You can read that article here. Another preview appeared in the Diss Times which you can read here.

The ever effervescent Mike Kwasniak was in this week to take some rehearsal shots for the programme. You can see some of the pictures throghout this post, and my flickr set of Palm Wine and Stout images are here (from rehearsals). You can also read about the cast in this previous blog post.

wpid-Palm-Wine-Stout-Itoya-Osagiede-Sioned-Jones.jpg.jpegThe show opens in Eye on the 6th March and plays for 60 performances in 50 venues before closing on 22 May at Hindolveston Village Hall. For a google map of all the venues we are playing see here and for booking information head over to the Eastern Angles web site here.



One thought on “Palm Wine and Stout buzz blog

  1. Pingback: New beginnings – and a move from East to West | Matthew Linley's Blog

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