Black Theatre Live - Big Foot Review

By Student Ambassador, Shania Waterson

Big Foot was a beautiful, yet emotional autobiographical story following teenager, Raleigh as he struggles through life looking after his mum, pleasing girls and keeping up his reputation on the streets. The play was written and performed by Joseph Barnes-Phillips and directed by Dominic Garfield. Both of them done a tremendous job with portraying this story.

We were greeted on the way in with a curry, served to us by Joseph, playing his mum, which really set the scene and prepared us for a flamboyant start with his mum to set up the story. Joseph took time to talk to everyone on the way in and even learnt the names of the people sat in the front row, who he then called out for during the performance, in times of need. He also called upon other members of the audience to go up onto the stage and dance with him, and to also read out a difficult letter from his father. This really connected Joseph to his audience and engaged every single audience member to the story.

The stage was set out like a colourful living room, filled with children’s toys. As soon as Joseph started talking, you got a sense of humour, confidence and authenticity. The use of the toys was very interesting, as he got them out on several occasions to portray his siblings, as well as using toy doctor’s kits when checking up on his mum.

Joseph was incredibly skilled with his multi-rolling. Each character he played had distinct movements, postures, gestures, facial expressions and voices. Joseph obviously worked hard to distinguish and perfect each character, making it clear to the audience who he was portraying and when. As well as the varying characteristics, there was use of lighting on different parts of the stage to show which character was talking, which helped to emphasise the different characters and their place in the story.

The story wasn’t all humour and vibrant effects, however. It touched upon some rather difficult subjects, such as abortion, alienation and the struggles of a young person trying to grow up without disappointing anyone he cares about. Each of these were dealt with amazingly and were equally important parts to the story.

Overall, Big Foot was an incredible production that was relatable and enjoyable for everyone. Everything about it was personal, detailed and creative, which is why I would recommend anyone to see this, should they get the chance.

Black Theatre Live are back from Thursday 10- Saturday 12 May, with Mountains- The Dreams of Lily Kwok. You can find out more and book tickets here.