Tag Archives: Jasmine Lee-Jones

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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To Kill a Mockingbird – 3.5 Stars


To Kill a Mockingbird

The Tower Theatre

Reviewed – 25th October 2018


“does a good job of covering all bases, capturing a sense of small town life and effectively enforcing Lee’s message”


Widely read and studied to this day, the plot of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird needs no introduction. That being said, I’m going to introduce it anyway, just in case you (like me) were forced to study less interesting books like Of Mice and Men (sorry, John Steinbeck). Maycomb, Alabama, is a town where racism is a fact of everyday life – which is no surprise considering it’s the 1930s and the Jim Crow laws are still enforced. The politics of race isn’t something that Jem and Scout Finch are old enough to fully understand, but when their father Atticus is called to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of attacking a white woman, they are forced to confront it head on.

But, really, there is no adequate way to summarise To Kill a Mockingbird, because you’d inevitably miss things out. The worry is always that those adapting it will do the same, that they won’t do justice to its many themes, or neglect your favourite character. Whilst it is by no means perfect, Tower Theatre Company’s new production does a good job of covering all bases, capturing a sense of small town life and effectively enforcing Lee’s message.

The play is staged in the company’s new home in Northwold Road, Stoke Newington, which proves itself to be a versatile venue. The broad stage and high, beamed ceilings evoke the feeling of an old-fashioned courthouse in which old-fashioned attitudes are the height of modernity. Three wooden frames are redecorated to suggest different settings: Boo Radley’s house becomes the courthouse gallery, whilst Mrs Dubose’s front garden seats the judge. Visually, the production is slick and adds credibility to the action.

Tower Theatre Company are not a professional company, but many of their performances are of professional quality. Ruby Mendoza-Willcocks’ energetic and committed portrayal of Scout is a highlight. Mendoza-Willcocks perfectly captures her precocious innocence; she is entirely believable throughout. Emily McCormick, who gives a memorable performance as Scout’s friend Dill, provides welcome humour in the midst of tension. The courtroom scene, which is the highlight of the novel, is the highlight here, too, thanks to the quiet gravitas of Atticus (Simon Lee) and Tom (Jordan Duvigneau) and the contrasting anger of his accusers. They perfectly capture the injustice of the situation: Atticus’ direct address to the audience makes us complicit in Tom’s treatment and invested in his fate. Unfortunately other scenes are less evocative, as many of the supporting characters are hurried off stage before their presence can be felt. Additionally, the dialogue is sometimes hard to understand as the actors endeavour to maintain the fast pace.

This production serves to remind us of the beauty, depth, and power of Lee’s story, which is still as impactful today as it was sixty years ago. Despite the occasional slippage out of character (or, more frequently, out of accent), Tower Theatre Company have captured the heart of Lee’s novel and created a production that is as effecting as it is enjoyable.


Reviewed by Harriet Corke

Photography by Robert Piwko


The Tower Theatre

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Tower Theatre until 3rd November



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