Share |

There's Only One Wayne Lee and Magical Chairs at the Southwark Playhouse

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 1st Sep 2011 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin

Lumenis Theatre in association with Southwark Playhouse presents

There’s Only One Wayne Lee and Magical Chairs by Roy Williams and Mary Mazzilli, a  Double Bill of intercultural theatre as part of London- Beijing Connections. These two plays were double billed because Lumenis Theatre felt that there was a strong need to represent and give a voice to ethnic minority communities in a context that reflects our everyday lives. This double bill brings together the London African-Caribbean and Chinese communities in intertwined stories.

Magical Chairs by Mary Mazzilli

Neues Bild.JPG

You don’t want to play with me, do you?

Magical Chairs is an allegorical experimental piece, an absurd play loosely based on Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs. Two trapped Magicians are trying to escape a room filled with chairs whilst a radio announcer describes the plight of abandoned and homeless chairs as if they were children.  After all the smoke from the dry ice has cleared we see two young people grappling with growing up and adverse social attitudes to youth.  Mazzilli means to achieve that the audience is brought to look at universal truths foreshadowing the consequences of our preconceptions and choices on the youth of today by storytelling. She sees the play as a dystopian scenario where young people live at bay, with no boundaries and little control over their environment and themselves.  

The incompetent Magician (Chris Chan) considers himself the Greatest Magician of Chairs. Alexandre is only his assistant but thinks of himself as a far better magician: “I just don’t want to embarrass you in front of your chairs.” Director Jonathan Man introduces a veritable chair choreography as the two actors move through an atmosphere of Endgame struggling to escape.

There’s Only One Wayne Lee by Roy Williams



Playing football is the way to go.

 Willams’ play is based on There’s Only One Wayne Matthews, a story of friendship between two Black British teens. Jonathan Man originally directed this as a work-in-progress performance at Contact Theatre showing the experience of growing up in modern Britain. This production re-imagined the piece as a unique coming of age tale, where Wayne, a bookish British Chinese teen unexpectedly befriends Carl, the British African Caribbean school football captain.  Set in 1970s Britain, where racism and intolerance were brazen and rife, this production shows what it means to try to fit in contemporary Britain, and the hitherto unexplored parallels and divergences between the different diasporas.

 Carl Wilkins and Wayne Lee –“the Irish Pelé” - both dream of becoming great footballers with Carl being somewhat closer to his goal than Wayne as Chelsea is interested in the talented boy whereas Wayne usually “falls on his arse” when he tries to kick the ball. Wayne simply idolises Carl, he strives to be like him. The play shows the life of those two boys at school and at home. Wayne’s brother Dennis runs the household since their mother died which left their father devastated and weak and Wayne without any respect for him. Carl lives with his mother and his irritating sister Chantelle. Carl’s girlfriend is white, her family doesn’t know of his existence. This play is very funny without shirking the more serious questions. The relationship between Wayne and Carl and Wayne’s learning process are the heart of the story. Alexandre Ross and Chris Chan play all the roles with sometimes outrageously funny results.

Alexandre Ross and Chris Chan  are truly exceptional in both productions.

Until 3 SEPTEMBER 2011

Show starts 7.45pm Tue-Sat Matinee Starts 3.15pm Sat
Running Time 110 minutes with an interval Price £10




Please login or sign up to post on this network.
Click here to sign up now.