SummerWorks review: Osia

OSIA by Jijo Quayson. Factory Mainspace. Aug 8.

OSIA by Jijo Quayson. Factory Mainspace. Aug 8 at 5 pm, Aug 10 at 6:15 pm, Aug 11 at 10:30 pm, Aug 13 at 1 pm, Aug 14 at 10:15 pm. See listing. Rating: NNN

A spirited young Ghanaian girl (Nicole Nwokolo) who lives partly in a fantasy world is thrust into brutal reality when her uncle (Paul Ohonsi) arranges to move her and her mother (Chemika Bennett-Heath) to the States, where he now lives.

Jijo Quayson’s debut play is rich with complex themes and populated by intriguing characters, including a lively, gossipy neighbour (Chiamaka G. Ugwu) who has her eye on the uncle. The uncle, meanwhile, is involved in a scheme involving illegal guns.

Under director Brad Fraser, the performances feel spontaneous and urgent. It’s a shame there’s not more detail setting up the mother and daughter’s lives before the script lurches towards melodrama in the final scenes.

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