The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Feast, a series of plays about Yoruba culture, leaves us hungry for something a little more substantial
Interspersed with lively displays of dance and choreographed movement, this ambitious production of short plays penned by five different writers focuses on the Yoruba diaspora.
The production's central motif is Yoruba culture, originating in west Africa and predominant in Nigeria, which took root in the Americas and Britain following the transatlantic slave trade.
It has since thrived, spreading the spiritual wisdom of ori ("inner head") which advocates a balanced life and character in order to obtain contentment.
In the complexities of Yoruba religion there are 400 deities known as orishas and some of them like Esu - the shape-shifting trickster orisha of crossroads, chaos and fertility - are embodied in various forms throughout Feast.
Each of the five plays attempts to give an insight as to how the Yoruba diaspora has evolved in each country so the stories, based in London, Cuba, Brazil, New York and Nigeria, are by writers who actually live there, with the aim of providing authenticity to the theatrical expression.
But it's the dance set pieces bookending each play that in some ways outshine the stories themselves not, as one might expect, the other way around.
The different writers seem to pull in too many different directions, with the stories themselves coming across as inconclusive and occasionally even amateurish.
Even so the production is spectacularly choreographed by George Cespedes, with some great set design by Katrina Lindsay.
And director Rufus Norris, who was brought up in Nigeria, makes a faultless contribution.
The liveliness of it all will delight many, particularly those who have some prior knowledge of, affinity with or interest in Yoruba culture.
But for the rest of us, prepare to be a little confused.
Runs until February 23. Box office: (020) 7922-2922.