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Prepare to be Woke: Arinzé Kene's Misty

I was buoyed up by Arinzé Kene's innovative, intelligent and energetic play performed in verse, which is thoroughly entertaining. Misty refuses to be categorised; is it slam poetry? Is it rap? Is it a musical? Is it a play? Well that doesn't matter because Arinzé's creativity defies labels. He mischievously uses different techniques to affectionately mock: himself, his critics, and society's stereotyping of black working class lives. Arinzé has so much fun with the show, on many different levels, that it inspired me to write a playful review of Misty in verse. 

Prepare to be Woke: Arinzé Kene's Misty

Pictured: Arinzé Kene in Misty.


Prepare to be Woke

Prepare to be woke, 
Prepare to be awoken, 
Prepare to hear from the broken, 
Prepare to hear words unspoken 
Prepare to hear Arinzé protest he's not a token.

Prepare to be woke,
Prepare to hear Arinzé's jokes 
about calls of "sell out" from his folks,
Prepare for all the emotions it evokes.
Prepare to wonder if it is all a hoax.

Prepare to be woke
Prepare to watch a skilful play in lyrical verse,
Prepare to watch Arinzé, dance, sing, recite and curse
Prepare to ask whether he is being perverse.

Prepare to be woke
Prepare to be impressed by his innovative show, 
Prepare to be challenged about what you think you know,
Prepare to contemplate this long after you go.

Prepare to be woke
Prepare to learn from this talented bloke, 
Prepare for the thoughts and feelings which he provokes
Prepare to question what the hell is woke?


Misty is playing at Trafalgar Studios through 17 November. Book Misty tickets to Arinzé Kene's powerful production today.


Sandra Howell

Since I was a child and now as an adult, I have loved performing, as an amateur, in choirs and the theatre. As a theatre goer my tastes are broad, I relish musical theatre and dance.  I am passionate about plays by a huge range of writers. I am excited by the wide variety of contemporary plays which entertain, challenge and make me feel deeply.

10 years after a life-threatening road traffic collision left me disabled, I retired from working as a National Officer of a trade union. In recent years, I have been inspired to write short fiction after attending creative writing courses. In 2017, I began writing theatre reviews and I am thrilled by the opportunities to combine two of my loves: live theatre and writing.


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