Off Broadway Reviews
Without recapitulating the plot or giving away too many spoilers, The Homecoming Queen, cleanly and inventively directed by Awoye Timpo on a long runway that splits the audience into two opposing sides, focuses on Kelechi's relationships with her Papa, an excellent Oberon K.A. Adjepong, the house girl her father has engaged to care for him, Beatrice, a terrific Mirirai Sithole (recently seen in Jocelyn Bioh's School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play at MCC), and the young boy taken in by her father when they were both children who has now grown into a strapping and handsome man, Obina, played by the riveting Segun Akande. Kelechi's life and history are deeply tied to her country of birth, and she's constantly reminded of her Nigerian origins by a chorus of her Aunties beautifullyand sassilyportrayed by Ebbe Bassey (also the production's dialect coach), esteemed veteran actress Vinie Burrows, Patrice Johnson and Zenzi Williams. Timpo cleverly uses the perimeter of the house, just above the audience seating, to spotlight these women as they pester and persuade Kelechi toward the choices she must inevitably make.
Despite its rough edges, The Homecoming Queen explores the tried and true theme of the prodigal child who returns home to battle the demons that drove them away in the first place. Anyanwu's fresh setting, however, distinguishes her work from the norm in its creative use of Nigeria's unique dialect, colorful costuming (by Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene) and its distinctive music (by Amatus Karim-Ali). It's a heartfelt piece that's worth seeing, particularly for its strong cast that gives themselves over to Anyanwu's story with total commitment.
The Homecoming Queen