Elephant at the Bush Theatre

Elephant Reviews at the Bush Theatre ★★★★

A reviews round-up for Elephant at the Bush Theatre in London.

Anoushka Lucas writes and stars in this new play at the Bush Theatre, running to 12 November 2022.

Part gig, part piano lesson, part journey through Empire, Elephant is a powerful play about mixed-race identity, the British class system and colonialism.

The play first appeared appeared as part of the Bush’s Protest series, a response to the murder of George Floyd.

Anoushka Lucas is the star of Oklahoma!which premiered at the Young Vic and is coming to the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End from February,

Book tickets to see Anoushka Lucas in Oklahoma! at the Wyndham’s Theatre in London

Average Critics Rating
★★★★

The Financial Times
★★★★

"This clever, subtle piece draws on Lucas’s own experience as a young female musician of mixed heritage: endlessly told to rebrand, repackage, simplify, change."

"A gem of a show that unpicks the history behind easy assumptions and lazy labels."

Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times
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The Guardian
★★★★

"Magnetic monologue on mixed-race identity in Britain"

"In her melodic debut play, Anoushka Lucas asks difficult questions about her own existence, the origins of her beloved piano and the British class system"

"Anoushka Lucas’s debut play is, on paper, a monologue. But in this melodic study of mixed-raced identity within the British middle class, there are two stars; Lylah (played by Lucas) and her first love – her mahogany piano."

"Developed and directed by Jess Edwards, this is a fully loaded hour that still manages to remain subtle. Lucas jams at the keys of her piano as she coaxes out her internal conflicts and the hidden denials of white middle classes that they’d probably rather forget. Lucas is a writer and actor of rare magnetism – we should be waiting eagerly for what she says next."

Anya Ryan, The Guardian
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The Evening Standard
★★★★

"A teasing, provoking pleasure"

"Anoushka Lucas packs a lot into her wittily probing show"

"A coming-of-age drama, a critique of colonialism, a piano gig and a love story – Anoushka Lucas packs a lot into her wittily probing one-hour solo show. A singer-songwriter who found that huge early praise and promise don’t always translate into success, Lucas reinvented herself as a riveting stage actress, and will reprise her stunning lead role in Oklahoma! when it transfers from the Young Vic to the West End next year. Meanwhile, here, she proves herself a hugely promising writer too."

Nick Curtis, The Evening Standard
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The Stage
★★★★

"Heartfelt musical-monologue"

"Musical monologue gently unpicks complex issues around identity, class and Britain’s imperial legacy"

"Handling weighty themes with the lightest of touches, Elephant is a delicate, heartfelt monologue interspersed with songs, which thoughtfully addresses the complex legacies of colonialism"

"Occasionally, when she’s worn down by the disempowering attitudes all around her, Lylah freezes up, limbs rigid, paralysed with unspoken anger and internalised self-doubt. But by the play’s end, she’s transformed herself, standing upright in confidence, rightfully proud of her past and hopeful for her future."

Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
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The Times
★★★★

"Brief but intense play addressing the intricacies of colour and class"

"Lucas has a sharp ear for the vocabulary which divides us into categories. Still, there’s room here for more depth in the characterisation, maybe at the expense of a couple of the pleasant but fragmented tunes. All the same, Lucas’s intensity draws you in. At the beginning she is poised and self-confident. As time draws on, she begins to crawl around the piano. A melodramatic touch, perhaps, but it’s as if the ground is shifting under her."

Clive Davis, The Times
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👤 📅28 October 2022
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📷 Main photo: Elephant at the Bush Theatre. Photo by Henri T

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