Tag Archives: Emma Dennis-Edwards

My White Best Friend and Even More Letters Best Left Unsaid


The Bunker

My White Best Friend

My White Best Friend and Even More Letters Best Left Unsaid

The Bunker

Reviewed – 25th November 2019



“a hugely powerful piece of theatre, a hugely important piece of theatre, and one that everyone must see”


On arrival at the Bunker Theatre we are handed wristbands, and enter into a theatre space transformed. There are three pieces of stage, in the corner is a DJ, and milling around are the audience, stood waiting, ready. Posters adorn the walls that highlight the show’s history and echoing the gig-like set up designed by Khadija Raza.

The first letter, by Rachel De-Lahay, the night’s curator, begins with a request to reshuffle the space, putting black and brown, queer and female bodies, front and centre.

This first letter is to her best friend, her white best friend, and it is read by Inès de Clercq. It is about the micro-aggressions, as well as the macro, the things people say that they don’t mean, that they don’t even see the problem in, the things that hurt all the more for it. The letter talks about white privilege, about how even a best friend can be part of the problem. “This is the fight you and your white best friend will never have,” writes De-Lahay, highlighting how much is left unsaid.

The second letter is to a “white ex situation-man-ship”, read by Tom Mothersdale, a white actor, who is reading these words for the first time. It touches upon the white privilege surrounding drug addiction and the way it is talked about. The letter and final letter of the evening starts, “Dear so-called allies.” Read by Susan Wokoma, our writer takes us back to Stonewall, to the erasure of a black and brown history and a trans history in the way Stonewall is remembered and celebrated today.

These letters are from different people, to different people, but they share a power. They are funny sometimes, and moving at other times, and generous and unforgiving and brave, spilling over with words that have been left on the tips of tongues too many times to count.

‘My White Best Friend (And Even More Letters Left Unsaid)’ is back by popular demand, with new letters and performers each night, and it isn’t hard to see why. The audience audibly responds to what is being read out, to a mis-pronounciation of a black name by a white actors, to things they recognise in their own experience, to things they will leave here with trying harder to recognise in their black and brown friends’ experiences. It is hard not to respond, like that, in the middle of the space, surrounded by people.

Directed by Milli Bhatia, this is a hugely powerful piece of theatre, a hugely important piece of theatre, and one that everyone must see.


Reviewed by Amelia Brown


My White Best Friend and Even More Letters Best Left Unsaid

The Bunker until 30th November


Previously reviewed at this venue:
My White Best Friend | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Funeral Flowers | ★★★½ | April 2019
Fuck You Pay Me | ★★★★ | May 2019
The Flies | ★★★ | June 2019
Have I Told You I’m Writing a Play About my Vagina? | ★★★★ | July 2019
Jade City | ★★★ | September 2019
Germ Free Adolescent | ★★★★ | October 2019
We Anchor In Hope | ★★★★ | October 2019
Before I Was A Bear | ★★★★★ | November 2019
I Will Still Be Whole (When You Rip Me In Half) | ★★★★ | November 2019


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Funeral Flowers

The Bunker

Funeral Flowers

Funeral Flowers

The Bunker

Reviewed – 17th April 2019



“this production leaves its audience invested, breathless and nurturing a small bud of hope”


The dark space of The Bunker Theatre glows dimly as we enter. As our eyes adjust, it’s clear that one wall shimmers with suspended flowers, gradually phasing through colours from chilly blues to glowing pinks. With this, we step into Angelique’s world.

This one-woman show from Harts Theatre Company and Power Play brings us a story that, tragically, is not new. Angelique finds herself all too alone in the world, with her mum incarcerated and her dad (‘the sperm donor’) invisible. We follow her, literally, in this promenade piece, as she struggles to navigate the care system and independent living. This tale could be all too familiar, but Angelique, who shares her name with a type of tulip, wants to be a florist. Her spaces and thoughts brim with flowers, and we find ourselves swept into this world. Through the prism of her floral inner and outer life, her tale takes on new significance.

Funeral Flowers’ immersive success owes a huge debt to dreamy, flower-filled set design of Minglu Wang. The black box of The Bunker takes on astonishing beauty – not for nothing are several florists credited on the programme. These spaces become menacing when the story darkens using clever lighting from James Dawson.

Emma Dennis-Edwards is compelling as our protagonist. The challenge of representing a teenager peeks through at times (especially during the longish opening scene) where her moods and mannerisms can feel affected, even exaggerated. In her more nuanced moments though, she’s riveting to watch – not for nothing does this show carry a warning of triggering scenes of sexual violence. Credit must be given to the production for handling this so sensitively, with warnings in advance via the website and programme, the option of leaving and returning another time proffered and details to survivor support services signposted.

There are moments that don’t hold together as well as Dennis-Edwards’ performance and Rachel Nwokoro’s confident direction. A little audience engagement is fun but its purpose is unclear, and the hurly-burly of fitting the sizeable audience into the confined seating area at the start (an impossible task) means that we begin a good ten minutes late. But these fade away when Dennis-Edwards brings her irrepressible cast of characters to the stage, each one as real as the next. This is especially true of her rendering of Angelique’s sometime boyfriend Ricky. Spoiler alert: Ricky is not a nice man. Dennis-Edwards has the audience reacting with audible gasps at some of his behaviour.

The presence of the flower wall calls to mind the work of artist Anya Gallaccio, who created vast installations of cut flowers which are allowed to gradually die away. As the performance comes to a close, it’s not clear whether Angelique will flourish or herself wither and die. What is clear is that this production leaves its audience invested, breathless and nurturing a small bud of hope.


Reviewed by Abi Davies

Photography by Kofi Dwaah


Funeral Flowers

The Bunker until 4th May


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Reboot: Shorts 2 | ★★★★ | October 2018
Semites | ★★★ | October 2018
Chutney | ★★★ | November 2018
The Interpretation of Dreams | ★★★ | November 2018
Sam, The Good Person | ★★★ | January 2019
Welcome To The UK | ★★ | January 2019
Boots | ★★★★ | February 2019
Box Clever | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Killymuck | ★★★★ | March 2019
My White Best Friend | ★★★★★ | March 2019


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