Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their ground-breaking production, Soulpepper Theatre, along with TO Live, has brought back ‘da Kink in my Hair with a phenomenal new run at the Bluma Appel Theatre. Written by Trey Anthony, directed by Soulpepper’s Artistic Director Weyni Mengesha, and featuring actors new to the ‘da Kink family and others who have been with the show in some of its many different iterations, ‘da Kink is a celebration and genuine exploration of the lives of Black women, particularly here in Toronto.

            ‘da Kink in my Hair is just as relevant today as it was 20 years ago; while some of the text had been updated to reflect current goings on in the world today, the heart of the story remains the same. ‘da Kink talks about everything from Blackness to queerness, mental health to immigration woes, and it does so with an understanding and truth which comes from lived experience. At Opening Night Trey Anthony said that ‘da Kink in my Hair is a “love letter” to the Black women of Toronto, and I felt that in every single moment. I know I cried at least three times listening to the stories of these women, knowing how much work we still have to do.

            I loved that the backdrop of the set is photos of real storefronts in Little Jamaica down on Eglinton West. I drive through that area frequently, and in the summer I’ll put the windows down to take in all of the sights, smells, and sounds of the neighbourhood. ‘da Kink gives us that same community feel as you enter Novelette’s salon and meet her clients and neighbours throughout the play.

I also really enjoyed how we got to know each character as Novelette did their hair. Each character gets their time to shine, but also to tell us their deepest, inner selves. I was surprised by how much music there was in the show! It was delightful, and contrasts nicely with some of the more intense monologues.

            The cast of ‘da Kink in my Hair is absolutely remarkable; everyone brings such life and energy to their roles. Ordena Stephens-Thompson’s Novelette really grounds the show, giving us a fun, quirky, kind touchstone to guide us through the play. Olunike Adeliyi, d’bi.young anitafrika, and Shakura Dickson’s performances were incredible; their characters and the struggles they faced were what had me crying. Satori Shakoor’s performance, on the other hand, had the whole house rolling with laughter; Miss Enid is the exact kind of old woman I hope I grow up to be! Rounding out this excellent cast are Chelsea Russell, Tamara Brown, Miranda Edwards, Alana Bridgewater, and Tiffany Deriveau. Everyone on stage exuded excellence and you could feel that their hearts are in these stories.  It was truly a pleasure to experience.

            I remember seeing the commercials for ‘da Kink in my Hair on TV when I was younger, so I was thrilled to be invited to the opening of this momentous production. ‘da Kink  is an inspirational, moving, incredible play which I truly think everyone needs to see. This amazing production runs until December 23rd so get your tickets ASAP! You don’t want to miss this! For more information and tickets, visit: Soulpepper Theatre – Plays, Concerts & Musicals‎


Photo by Jalani Morgan

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