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Review: CroydonBites

This evening was a bold mixed bill including a serious short film, stand-up comedy, poetry and then dance. These four pieces could not be any more different and nor would you want them to be.

Chardine Makaveli-Singh / A Cronx Tale - Stefans Story

Cronx tales is a film written by Chardine Makaveli-Singh following a personal tragedy she experienced illustrated with relatable images of a young black man being raised by his single Dad and how he is affected by his peers and knife crime. Sadly, this was a vivid illustration of the consequences and impact on the young person and the family. The animation was beautifully simple and told the story without complications but some empathy. The film showed us how a child might be tempted by the security that gangs offer. The Q&A afterwards tragically reminded us that the funeral of the 15-year-old Croydon knife crime victim, Elianne Andam, was held earlier that day. There are plans to introduce this accessible show into schools; it can’t happen soon enough.

Dick Denham

It is something of a tall order surely for a stand-up comic to work an audience who haven’t come out purely for comedy. Would Dick Denham necessarily know how to work this crowd? His observations about living alone, being a gay man or having sex were delivered as though he was just having a chat with a roomful of people. Of course, we laughed but Denham plays with the balance well, leaving us feeling as though, perhaps we ought not. That’s a good comic and I only wish we had more time with him.

Nathan Brown-Bennett / Cancelled!!!

On a Saturday night (and post comedy!), surely the poet will have to work the hardest. But Nathan Brown Bennett read his poems on race and on relationships with ease. Mental health was a necessary poem and when he paused, he allowed us to do the same. I thought about the plight of black men but then his accompanying singer, Marisa Olusemo, elevated his words with her beautifully toned voice which added softness to the subject. We cannot hear enough about mental health and so his words reminded us all.

Randolph Matthews & Katie Rose / Across the Lines

This piece was calming and I enjoyed being soothed by their sounds and the repeated rhythm of Matthews and Rose. They danced among us and were in tune and supportive of each other. This was the most contrasting but still welcoming piece of the evening. I’m always told I cannot dance but I always do but The skill of these dancers meant I was dancing as I was immersed although physically still.

The evening showed how different mediums can be surprisingly cohesive but also immerse us in new experiences that challenge us. I admire these artists for bringing their strong and important voices to a new audience.

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