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Review: Shaniqua Benjamin / Love Warrior

‘What’s the point of a beating heart, if not to feel?’ Shaniqua Benjamin asks. Nods of agreement and smiles spread around the room. The evening starts with Benjamin on stage, sitting in a chair, feet and hands bound with rope. She sings and engages the audience as everyone settles. Then begins a beautifully paced and engaging monologue about love and redemption. After two audience members untie her, she moves around the room as she talks, ‘a walking endorphin’, handing out love notes. The rhythm and musicality of her language pops and rolls as the mood shifts into memories of her life before her enlightenment about love, when she had ‘a tendency to cut with my tongue’. Benjamin shares a story of punching a racist, then meeting a stranger who invites her to become “ripples of water rather than fire”; she recounts all the loving human interactions that have made her the person she is today. Her warmth and generosity are infectious. By the end, the room is glowing with good vibes and big love for Croydon’s sparkling poet laureate.

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