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Theatre Review Seven methods of savaging white supremacism

MAYER WAKEFIELD recommends a groundbreaking play on two young black women who refuse to be ‘smudged into oblivion’ on social media

Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner
Royal Court, London

OVER the years, the Royal Court has been home to many groundbreaking productions and Jasmine Lee-Jones’s Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner is undoubtedly one to add to the list.

Relatively few writers have attempted to consider the overwhelming impact of the internet on our daily lives and project its complexities onto the stage and few, if any, have done it with the power or humour of Lee-Jones.

Split between scenes in the TWITTERLUDE and those IRL (in real life), she manages to dissect a myriad of issues in a whirlwind 90 minutes.

She has Cleo, aka @INCOGNEGRO, taking issue with “the YT supremacist capitalistic claptrap” of the social media personality and “con artist-cum-provocateur” Kylie Jenner, labelled by Forbes as the youngest self-made billionaire ever.

Determined to display her frustrations on Twitter using the hashtag #kyliejennerfidead, she sets about listing the seven hypothetical ways in which she’d like to kill her.

In doing so, she unleashes an incendiary polemic, laced with caustic wit, on the racist double standards of a world where a millionaire’s daughter is allowed to parade as “self-made” as she profits from “smudging black women into oblivion.”
 
The breakneck intensity of the Twitter sections is beautifully offset by the intimate IRL friendship that the fierce yet vulnerable Cleo (Danielle Vitalis) shares with the somewhat more reserved Kara (Tia Bannon).

Dealing with past traumas and trying to navigate their way through the daily challenges of relationships, racial identities and sexualities as black women in the social media age, they regularly lock horns but come off stronger as a result.

Much of Lee-Jones’s abbreviation-filled yet densely detailed script uses memes in place of written dialogue and credit must go to director Milli Bhatia for realising it with such clarity.

The same can be said for Vitalis and Bannon, who bring an abundant effervescence to their roles.

Dedicated to Sara Baartman, a victim of 19th-century European colonial brutality, this is a play by black women primarily for black women but there is plenty for everyone to digest. More than anything, it feels so current and so alive.

S2g, u should go and see it rn.

 

Runs until July 27, box office: royalcourttheatre.com.

 

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