Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner by Jasmine Lee-Jones. Jerwood Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, London SW1 to 27 July. 4****. William Russell.

Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner
By Jasmine Lee- Jones.
Jerwood Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AS to 27 July 2019.
Mon – Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu & Sat 3pm.
Runs 90 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7565 5000.
Review: William Russell 8 July.

Cleo is having a fit of rage. Holed up in her bedroom she is raving on twitter about Kylie Jenner, a 21 year old white woman who has become allegedly the youngest self-made billionaire ever. Cleo is 21. Cleo is black. She is fed to the teeth of white women nicking black ways and making them their own – and making money. She is amusing herself by thinking of ways of killing Kylie. Jasmine Lee Jones’ play is infuriating because at times it is hard to make out just what is going on, so jargon filled are Cleo’s rants and her arguments with best friend Kara, who is also black but not as black as she is, over the way she is behaving. On press night, given the audience which seemed heavily weighted with young black women, who had no problems working out what was being said, it was clear, even when one not being a young black woman but an old white man, was puzzled that something funny, to the point and daring was being said. There is no getting away from the fact that Jasmine Lee-Jones, a product of the theatre’s Young Court programme for writers has come up with a play that, once you grasp what is going on, enlightens and provokes. Cleo is furious at the way young black women are treated and delivers a speech about how the South African Saartjie Baartman was treated – exhibited in what amounted to a human zoo. She also spars with Kara, who is lesbian and would like to be more than just friends, invents ever more appalling ways of killing and twice with Kara dumps a body in an on stage grave. It is all very clever, over the top and well worth climbing those Jerwood stairs to see. The set – a canopy of strings and cables which threatens to descend and engulf them – is clever, the production by by Milli Bhatia impeccable. Tia Bannon as Kara is a voice of reason, Danielle Vitalis as Cleo displays inexhaustible energy, and both are very good indeed.The audience was delirious by the end of the evening. I was gob smacked. It also has a wonderfully taunting conclusion as the talking just stops leaving audience and actors looking at one another wondering, as far as the audience is concerned, what should happen next.
Kara: Tia Bannon.
Cleo: Danielle Vitalis.

Director: Milli Bhatia.
Designer: Rajha Shakiry.
Lighting Designer: Jessica Hung Han Yun.
Sound Designer: Elena Pena.
Movement Director: Delphine Gaborit.
Production photographs: Helen Murray.

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