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  • Isabelle Hill

Review - Heart

Brixton House Theatre

Playing until: 3rd February 2024

Photo credit: Jaime Prada

Review {AD-PR Invite}

Jade Anouka shines in her latest offering; a one-woman show combining rap, spoken word and rhyme detailing her life navigating love, heartbreak and self-discovery.

Heart begins with a powerful prologue, telling the audience that although this story is written and performed by a black woman, it is a story ‘for all the misfits’ and ‘those who have ever felt others’. Moving into the story of her first love, we come to understand the struggles of a seemingly perfect couple face, and the impact your loved ones' mental health can have on yourself.


Through a series of poetic monologues, Anouka describes the period following her divorce; turning to habits she thought would help her process her thoughts, sofa-surfing and returning to live at her parents’ house. She also puts a spotlight on her own mental health, describing it as ‘the beast’ that appears and begins to take over her thoughts.


The heart of the story highlights the importance and difficulties of finding your identity and exploring what it means. After meeting a woman at post-show drinks, Anouka describes burgeoning love and the fluttering feeling inside. We turn to the reality that many queer people feel - what does this mean? Should we feel ashamed? Will there be an impact on our daily lives? The idea of a ‘society-approved and family-enthused’ couple returns and what it means to not live up to that expectation.


Whilst this play makes no outwardly political statements, the outward pressures and beliefs from society are highlighted with Anouka sharing her feelings of not wanting to be looked at differently or judged by others for her personal life. We see how these pressures influence the acceptance of herself and the impact that has on her newly found relationship.


Anouka’s retelling of how she told her mother that she has met someone and that someone is a woman is a powerful scene. Themes of religion, mental health and family combine to showcase the build up of internal turmoil and release. We finally see Anouka comes to accept herself and be bold in her decisions to get what she truly desires.


Alongside the spoken word, Grace Savage is also present to produce live sound that elevates the performance further. The relationship between the words, rhythms and music adds an extra dimension to accentuate the emotions and feelings being portrayed. Richard Owen’s lighting design works in harmony with the staging, movement and beats of the performance.


Heart’s poetic script and virtuosic performance combine to create an intimate and deeply affecting portrait of a young woman charting her course and finding her feet in life, love and sense of self. The production explores meaningful and relevant topics to make the audience think and feel. It acknowledges that although the journey may not always be easy, happiness, pride and love can be found along the way.


Writer/Performer: Jade Anouka

Composer/Musician: Grace Savage

Stage Manager: Ruby Sevink-Johnston

Lighting Designer: Richard Owen

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