The Half God of Rainfall | Review

(c) Kiln Theatre. by Dan Tsantilis

(c) Kiln Theatre. by Dan Tsantilis

The Half- God of Rainfall

I was particularly excited about attending this performance with the WFTC team and our fellow culture clubbers, not solely because it was a chance to experience the work of acclaimed writer, Inua Ellam (who just so happened to be seated behind us during this performance), but out of curiosity about how different mythologies could be blended into one story.

The play tells the story of mother and son, Modupe and Demi, and their connection to both Orisha deities and Greek gods. The intriguing influence of Demi’s moods on the weather patterns gives us a clue about some of the powers he inherited from his non-mortal father, Zeus (Greek God of Thunder). It is Demi’s skill on the makeshift basketball courts of his Nigerian hometown, that offer a possible escape from the wrath of feuding gods and we are taken on a journey spanning Nigeria, America, Mount Olympus and even outer space. Whilst incorporating all things mystical, the story also mirrors some pertinent contemporary issues relating to power, fame, women’s rights and sexual assault.

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Ellam’s skill for storytelling was truly brought to life under Nancy Medina’s direction and the black marble-effect stage, ambient lighting and use of water were also pivotal in enriching the story. The performances of Rakie Ayola and Kwami Odoom were equally captivating; they portrayed a genuine and authentic connection between mother and son. Although both Ayola and Odoom can be credited for cleverly transitioning into the roles of other key characters (with accompanying accents and mannerisms), some of the layers and nuances of these roles were lost and I wondered whether the production may have benefitted from the inclusion of supporting cast members to retain this.

Following, this performance I’ve been compelled to not only read Ellam’s original text but to research more about the mythologies featured within this play. Perhaps there’s more to the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus than I had previously learnt during my school years!

The Half-God of Rainfall will end its current run at The Kiln on the 17th May 2019-  this is not one to miss, so I’d highly recommend that others purchase their tickets ASAP!

- Lauren