The Brothers Size

Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Directed by Bijan Sheibani
Liverpool Everyman (25th-27th October 2007)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

The Brothers Size, directed by Liverpool-born Bijan Sheibani, is an intimate and stark study of two brothers, Ogun and Oshoosi Size, and Elegba, who had shared a prison cell with Oshoosi.

It is set in Louisiana and is based to some extent on the Yoruba traditions of West African myths.

The stage is devoid of any props, which allows the viewer to totally focus on the words being uttered by the three characters, accompanied by soft atmospheric music performed live in the background by Manuel Pinheiro.

The actors step in and out of a large red cross, which was marked in the middle of the stage moments before the lights went down on the audience.

Ogun (Nyasha Hatendi) and Oshoosi (Obi Obili) have followed very divergent paths in their lives. Ogun has spent much of his time running a motor repair shop, while at the same time his younger brother, who has just been released from jail, pursues an aimless existence.

Ogun is the more practical and rational of the two, while Oshoosi is a dreamer, who wants to escape from his surroundings, and perhaps the hectoring tone of his brother towards him.

"You fucked up, you fucked up....", Ogun repeatedly screams at Oshoosi, but the latter is reluctant to admit it.

Their strained relationship is not helped by the presence of Elegba (Nathaniel Martello-White), who promises Oshoosi a way out of his dilemma, but it all proves to be an illusion.

The performances of the three, in keeping with the Yoruba tradition, often use ritualised movements, and are introduced by words, for example: 'Oshoosi wakes up from a nightmare, 'Ogun arrives at his shop breathing hard'.

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