Two plays, both set in contemporary inner-city London, showcasing the remarkable poetic and theatrical imagination of writer/performer Arinzé Kene.
Little Baby Jesus is a lyrical triptych of three intertwining, colliding monologues about the life-changing moments when three young people ‘grew up’. Joanne is dipped in rudeness, rolled in attitude and is fighting to keep her life afloat. Sensitive and mature he may be, yet Kehinde struggles with an obsession for mixed-race girls as he eyes his place on the social ladder. Rugrat is the class clown and playground loudmouth, and just wants to make it past GCSEs.
Estate Walls is the story of Obi, a young writer who dreams of leaving his estate, but with bad boys Myles and Cain for best friends, there are bound to be setbacks…
Both plays premiered at Ovalhouse Theatre in south London, directed by Ché Walker, with Estate Walls winning Arinzé the Most Promising Playwright at the Offies (Off West End Theatre Awards) in 2011. Little Baby Jesus was revived at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in 2019, directed by winner of the JMK Young Director Award Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu.
‘An intense, visceral and vivid portrayal of the often-brutal reality of growing up. It feels starkly authentic and cruel, whilst at times is wildly funny and is all the more appealing for it’
— Broadway World on Little Baby Jesus
‘A huge groundswell of hormones, mistakes, loneliness and searching. You feel, emotionally, like you know the story and care about these three teenagers and that is why Arinzé Kene is brilliant’
— Time Out on Little Baby Jesus
‘The great joy of the play springs from Kene’s sharp-eyed, witty observations and the lyricism of his descriptive writing… moves from hysterically funny to tear-jerkingly moving in an instant, with comedy, harsh reality and allegory fitting together seamlessly… rides the highs and lows of the years of teenage discovery and arrives assuredly at a life affirming destination’
— The Reviews Hub on Little Baby Jesus
‘Here is a play that will be racing through you, making you laugh and think, long after you’ve left the theatre… a genre-defying theatrical hybrid – a thrilling combination of performance poetry, standup comedy and good old-fashioned storytelling’
— Guardian on Little Baby Jesus
‘Skips majestically between the epic and urban in a story that would feel as comfortable set against a Grecian palace as it does the grimy city wall of its title… Kene’s eclectic dialogue is a pleasure to listen to, jumping from poetic to pithy and back again with remarkable ease’
— Theatre Workbook on Estate Walls
‘Witty and intelligent… deftly captures and magnifies the poetry of everyday conversation on an estate’
— Soul Culture on Estate Walls