This is an innovative play that presents the true history of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose cancer cells were used to create the first immortalised human cell line. It opens with a rhythmic, spoken-word monologue delivered by Henrietta (Aminita Francis). We soon learn that her DNA, nicknamed by herself as “Did Not Ask”, was non-consensually taken from her body in 1951. It has since served as the key basis for medical research, including the development of HIV vaccines, investigation of cancer cells and more recently, the COVID vaccine.
The Adelphi Theatre was the site of the UK-wide tour of a talk from ‘the Scottish detective,’ David Swindle. The advertising for the Back to the Future musical in the lobby made for an interesting contrast to the show that the audience was filing in for. It was a basic set for the talk, with just a desk and a bookshelf, and very few bells and whistles. Swindle mainly talks but uses some illustrations from newspaper clippings and video excerpts of murderers giving interviews, and clips of the bodies being discovered.
Directed by Lisa Millar and choreographed by Christopher Tendai, Wonderland in Alice is an original adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s tale that explores its themes and tropes through contemporary dance and music, trippy visuals and dynamic stage design.