The Brothers Size Review – ‘Beautifully written, matched with exceptional acting’

Feb 1 2018 BY Jovanne Campbell

The Brothers Size is a play that is beautifully written by Tarell Alvin McCraney and is matched with exceptional acting from trio Sope Dirisu (Ogun), Jonothan Ajayi (Oshoosi) and Anthony Welsh (Elegba).  Based on the ups and downs of fraternity between brothers and the struggle of black males in America, it is truly an absorbing drama that I would recommend for anyone to head down to The Young Vic and see.

The play is kicked off with a chalk circle being drawn to represent the stage and red dust to fill it. The audience immediately notices that besides reciting their lines, all three actors narrate their actual movements. It provides a comedic element at times, but also gives the audience direction on a stage that has no props and no distractions; just three talented actors and their dialogue.

Brothers Ogun and Oshoosi Size were separated due to Oshoosi being incarcerated and finally reunited after years apart. Ogun is the older brother of the two and that is evident from the start as we see how hard working and determined he is to ensure that his brother stays on the right path by providing him with a home and a job. Oshoosi, on the other hand, provides the comedic element to the play as he is light hearted, playful and doesn’t take himself or life too seriously. He doesn’t want to work, as we can see from his reluctance to get up for work in the mornings. He wants to go out and chase women with best friend Elegba, whom he met whilst behind bars and have remained friends since. We only truly see the serious side to Oshoosi once there is a mention of his time in prison as he can’t stand the thought of going back, especially as he has to deal with the nightmares of his time in prison. Throughout the entirety of the play Oshoosi is haunted by dreams from his youth and the death of his mother and his coming together with cellmate Elegba.

Ogun is an integral part of the play, as throughout we see primarily his caring or it could even be said his paternal instinct towards Oshoosi. The standout scene in the play was when we saw Oshoosis’ light-hearted personality down to a tee and we see Ogun’s exuberant side come out in their hilarious rendition of performing Otis Redding’s ‘Try a Little Tenderness’. Not only was the scene funny, but it was like all of life’s struggles went away for that moment and they were kids again.

For me, it is a play about how it feels to be a black man with a target on his back due to his past. A prime example of this is when Elegba shares the story of his run in with an Uncle Tom type police officer. In terms of the plot of the actual play, we see that more towards the end of the play with drama involving drugs and a demonstration of unconditional love.

The Brothers Size is an excellent play as it offers the perfect mixture of humour, drama and leaves the audience with food for thought. We see three actors with an incredible talent parade around a stage that is physically demanding. Furthermore, it is a such an easy watch for non-theatre goers.

The play is running until Wednesday 14 March and tickets start from £10. To book ‘The Brothers Size’ visit The Young Vic Website.