Full disclosure; Arinzé was the first artist I met when I started as Associate Dramaturg at the Bush Theatre 5 years ago. I knew then that Misty was a commission that got right to the heart of what the Bush has proven time and time again under Madani Younis’s Artistic Direction: give space and time to extraordinary artists and they will come through with the goods. Misty is a masterpiece, hands down.
If you’re young and don’t think theatre is for you then Misty is going to get your heart racing, your feet stomping, your brain expanding and your soul warming.
I left the Bush before Misty sky rocketed first at the Bush earlier this year and now in the West End at Trafalgar Studios. I still can’t shake one of the best working days of my life sat in the kitchen of the Bush several years ago with Omar Elerian (who went on to Direct) and Madani as Arinzé presented, read, performed, charmed and styled it out sat in front of a notebook full of the words and ideas which are the DNA of the Misty you will see on stage.
Here’s the thing though, Misty is that rare thing, it’s going to shake you if you know theatre and it’s going to astound you if you’ve never been. If you’re young and don’t think theatre is for you then Misty is going to get your heart racing, your feet stomping, your brain expanding and your soul warming. Misty is essential, it is breaking all the rules and is only the second Black British play to be seen in the West End, ever.
Misty matters if you’re a young adult living in London. It is made for you, it looks like you and celebrates, questions and represents the city that you live in. It goes further though, this show is of our city but flies beyond that, Arinzé wants you to be entertained so he can get serious with you and what he is saying is going to matter if you’re growing up now, if you’re a teenager now, if you care now about representing the world we’re in. Honestly it’s for you all.
Misty is essential, it is breaking all the rules and is only the second Black British play to be seen in the West End, ever.
As Madani says, Arinzé Kene is to British Theatre what Kendrick Lamar is to Hip-Hop. For us at Boundless, British Theatre needs more Kendrick Lamar’s, it needs more Janelle Monáe’s we need to listen to the Riz Ahmed’s. We need to listen more full stop. If we listen to all of those who theatre hasn’t included and give them time and space to make great work, theatre can matter to us all, be part of the conversation and make change possible.
The Bush do this and then some, they’re in the West End with Misty until 20th October, get yourself a seat, you won’t regret it.