“Splintered” review: Queer Caribbean cabaret is overflowing with joy and catharsis

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Reiss Smith (The Pink News) reviews Splintered, a queer Caribbean cabaret show written and directed by London/Trinidadian Emily Aboud. Smith writes, “Splintered explores the challenges of being LGBTQ+ in the Caribbean while revelling in unadulterated queer joy.” Splintered is on stage until April 29, 2023 at the Soho Theatre Main House, 21 Dean Street, London. See more information and additional review below.

Across the Caribbean, LGBTQ+ people are made to feel unloved, unwanted and unsafe. In many countries there are harsh laws which can see gay people put in jail – in all cases, these laws were instigated by British colonisers.

Splintered makes the case that this is patently ridiculous. After all, so much of Caribbean culture feels inherently queer – not least carnival, with all its colours, costumes and frivolity in the face of oppression.

Splintered leans deeply into the spirit of carnival. Performed by a trio of talented young actors, it’s a cabaret that’s both intensely funny and deeply political. Things kick off with one of the trio pouring a shot of Wrap and Nephew into a moon cup, to symbolise that they’re the MC. From there, it’s a fast-paced journey through sketches, song-and-dance numbers (including a relatably gay reworking of “Cell Block Tango”) and verbatim pieces replaying the voices of queer women from Trinidad and Tobago.

There’s a lot pain in these stories – from experiences of coming out and unrequited love to being made to feel unsafe in your own home. There are also some important questions raised: why, decades after independence, is homophobia still so rife across the Caribbean? Why is it that so many can recall Sean Paul’s biggest hits, but have no idea of the history of slavery in the Caribbean? But writer-director Emily Aboud does an impressive job of balancing this with unadulterated queer joy – while this is an important show, covering important topics, it’s also incredibly cathartic and overflowing with hope. As we’re told towards the end of the show, it’s about resisting and rebelling, finding light in spite of the darkness.

For original review, see https://www.thepinknews.com/2023/04/19/splintered-review-soho-theatre

[Photo above by Harry Elletson: Yolanda Ovide in Splintered.]

Review: “Splintered”, Soho Theatre
Livvy Perrett, West End Best Friend, April 21, 2023
Written and directed by Emily Aboud
Age Recommendation: 16+
Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Through April 29, 2023
Soho Theatre Main House, 21 Dean Street, London, W1D 3NE

See more on the director at https://www.emilyaboud.com/

2 thoughts on ““Splintered” review: Queer Caribbean cabaret is overflowing with joy and catharsis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s