Originally posted in Bitter Lemons http://wp.me/p1ZQLV-adR
Man. It’s not all that often that you see a solo show where you want to take the performer home with you. The pocket-sized Liz Femi is just about the most adorable actor onstage ever, and her story of growing up middle-class in Nigeria – and being captivated by the “fiery tongues and fierce temperaments” of those around her who’re living in poverty – is pretty much irresistible.
The outrageously talented Ms. Femi portrays an 8-year-old girl who begins her onstage journey in dogged pursuit of a secret love, a poor boy at school. She takes a route that’s at once familiar and unexpected; Jane Morris directs with a sure hand that grabs every comedic opportunity along the way, and finds more than a few touching moments, as well. What seals the deal here is that Ms. Femi completely embodies the unique energy and physicality of each of her characters, which allows the children and adults who populate this colorful world a specificity that reaches beyond cultures and borders. Yes, the tale told could use a little focus in terms of the overall message, but kudos to director Morris, the designers and production team for creating a thoroughly charming package. “Take Me to the Poorhouse” is most definitely a story we haven’t heard the end of.