A Reviews round-up for No ID at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
No ID comes to the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs for a limited run until 6 May 2023.
Tatenda Shamiso tells the story of his experience as a Black transgender immigrant in the UK, using the songs he wrote throughout his first year on testosterone alongside letters, signatures and a whole lot of paperwork, to guide the audience through what it takes to validate Black and queer identities in the eyes of the law.
No ID is directed by Sean Ting-Hsuan Wang, and produced by Dylan Marc Verley, with design by Claudia Casino, lighting design by Zoe Beeny, stage management by Ting (Yi-Ting) Huang, and musical arrangements by Gabriel Dedji.
Read reviews from The Stage, TimeOut, The Times, Guardian and more.
"Tatenda Shamiso’s brave, joyous autobiographical show about his life as a Black transgender immigrant"
"What a gift of a show this is, wrapped up in sincerity, candour and light. Written and performed by Tatenda Shamiso, the autobiographical ‘No ID’ unravels the difficulty of living in Britain as a Black, transgender immigrant. But though there are points of wrenching internal hardship and endless contests with the UK healthcare and governmental systems, the show is ultimately a miraculous jewel of hope."
"... most infectious of all is the music. In much lower tones, Shamiso sings along with recordings he made over the duration of his transition."
"It is confessional, remarkably exposing but always natural and told with wit... Resolutely honest and brilliant, this is a lionhearted revelation in dramatic form."
"A frank, funny and intimate exploration of gender transition"
"Tatenda Shamiso sings delighted duets with the person he once was and considers the logistical hurdles he has jumped to access treatment"
"Directed by Sean Ting-Hsuan Wang, No ID is Shamiso’s generous ode to the person he once was, having transitioned over the last few years with a new name, new body and new voice. He is grateful for all he takes from his old identity, speaking in a way that feels almost revelatory. At the same time, this one-man show is a wry airing of the logistical obstacles that continue to prevent him from becoming this next version of himself."
"Telling his story with frank honesty and offhand humour, Shamiso intimately and scathingly reveals the lazy cruelties of the bureaucratic systems which fail to extend empathy or understanding. But even more so, as he welcomes us into this incredibly personal moment of change and potential, he shares the release and relief that come with being comfortable in your body, a feeling that deserves to be accessible to all."
"A breezy, revealing story about becoming a man"
"... this eye-opening, hour-long exploration into his still-evolving new life as a man."
"Box files fill the stage in Claudia Casino’s design, but No ID is less agitation, more celebration."
"At first this skin-deep approach might irritate... Once you get into the essential positivity of No ID, though, it all falls into place. He shows us month-by-month footage of Thandiwe talking to camera, becoming Tatenda. He plays keyboards and duets with his old self over songs she wrote and recorded an octave higher in the last throes of her femininity. Touching, tremendous moments."
"Tatenda Shamiso’s play is triumphantly lyrical"
"Brilliantly funny and imaginatively staged insight into gender transitioning in the UK"
"Tatenda Shamiso’s play is a triumphantly lyrical, frank and generously funny exploration of the challenges – and liberation – of gender transitioning in the UK as a Black immigrant."
"Shamiso is a fantastic narrator of his story."
"As well as Shamiso’s rapport with the audience, from his eye-rolls to moments of vulnerability, this production’s visual impact is powerful. Director Sean Ting-Hsuan Wang maintains a springy energy among piles of boxes that, in Claudia Casino’s set design, are ever-present and encroaching."
"Ultimately, though, this is a play about someone embracing their past to move forward to who they are. As Shamiso wryly lampshades with a projected cue card reading: “Trauma Porn”, if you just want misery, go somewhere else; this is about hope among the challenges."