Seven Methods Of Killing Kylie Jenner
Royal Court Upstairs, London ★★★★✩
BILLIONAIRE make-up mogul Kylie Jenner probably didn’t know it. But according to black, radical student Cleo (Danielle Vitalis), when Jenner tweeted pictures of her enhanced pout she was contributing to the ‘systemic dehumanisation of the black female body’ while affirming the ‘idolatry of white womanhood’. Or to put it another way, she was racist.
In this electrifying two-hander by newcomer Jasmine Lee-Jones, Cleo’s research, and her life too, is defined by the white exploitation of the black female form.
For her, Jenner’s unwitting crime was made worse by the fact she describes herself as ‘a self-made billionaire’ (despite being Kim Kardashian’s half-sister), to which Cleo — aka @INCOGNEGRO — responds with the waspish reply: ‘YT [whitey] woman born into rich American family somehow, against all odds, gets more rich…’
Next up, Cleo’s Twitter handle is listing ways in which Jenner and all she represents can be killed. Much to the horror of her lover, best friend and fellow ‘black femme’ Kara (Tia Bannon), this attracts the scary trolls of every racist redneck with a mobile phone.
To say that this play is supercharged by the politics of race just doesn’t do it justice. In addition to the politics of whites appropriating the black female form, and how some make shedloads of money out of it, it also takes on the inter-black politics of lighter and darker skin, straight and natural hair, straight and gay sexualities.
Milli Bhatia’s muscular production cleverly distinguishes between real life and the Twittersphere — the tweets and emojis from the latter possess both Vitalis and Bannon like evil spirits.
But the two worlds become indistinguishable when the heroines trade insults and the acronyms fly with the ferocity of a Twitter storm.
So this is also a heads-up on how we may all end up ranting at each other face-to-face — delivering not only death threats to Kylie Jenner, but sounding the death knell for society itself.