Saturday 5th October
Review by Shaun Tossell
Following a critically acclaimed run in New York, Broadway star Jeannette Bayardelle brings her one-woman musical Shida to The Vaults for its UK premiere.
Based on the true story of the childhood best friend of Bayardelle, a young African-American girl, Shida Brown, who aspires to become a writer. Her dreams fall to the wayside when something terrible happens to her, leading her on a path of self-destruction. It’s only by the love of the people closest to her and her faith that give her the strength to hope for a second chance.
The story is told through the eyes of Shida and the characters who love her most, including her mother, best friend Jackie and schoolteacher, Ms Smalls.
Jeannette Bayardelle breathes life to all these radically different characters with such ease, I was blown away. Each character had distinct nuances to them and were immediately recognisable when she switched between them on the fly.
Shida boasts an eclectic mix of of rock, R&B, gospel and even rap, effortlessly switching between genre. Bayardelle’s powerful, soaring vocals were stunning and filled with emotion. Just as impressive, is the fact Bayardelle wrote the book, music and lyrics for this show.
The simple set was brought to life with bold, dramatic lighting. Flooding the stage with colour, the focus strictly on Bayardelle, who makes great use of the space with great direction by award-winning director Andy Sandberg.
Shida is a life-affirming success and Jeannette Bayardelle’s astonishing performance is worth the price of admission alone. Not to be missed! ! !
Shida is playing at The Vaults till 13th October.
Tickets & more info – https://www.thevaults.london/shida