Hurricane Diaries - Review
Hurricane diaries is one woman’s account of her life in Puerto Rico and her relationship with her homeland following her move to the UK. It is part history lesson, part politics lesson but mostly an intimate look at the look experiences that have impacted someone’s life and informed who they are today.
The fourth wall is broken from the start and Amanda Vilanova takes on the role of both actress and narrator. She has bags of charisma and is engaging throughout. She addresses the audience directly and through this is able to give a slightly comic yet accurate history of Puerto Rico, the impact of colonisation and specifically how that impacts the island now. They are a part of the Unites States of America, paying taxes there but without any voting rights or real representation which makes all the more horrifying the lack of assistance they received after hurricane Maria hit in 2017.
Amanda Vilanova both wrote the play as well as performing making it a heartfelt and deeply personal performance as she lets you into her life. In just 55 minutes she gives an insight into her families history and her own history. She reflects on the experiences she missed by not being there and touches briefly on being an immigrant in the UK and how that feels. It’s a moving account and at times disturbing which only makes it more powerful.
More universally she touches on family, belonging, hope and loss, themes that everyone can relate to.
In terms of set you enter the theatre to a stage filled with boxes and a chair reminiscent of pictures where people take stock after a hurricane. This is a really well considered set which houses the various props and costume change used through the production and which by the end looks like the storm has torn through it.
I was also impressed with the lighting in this production, bringing narrow intimate lighting for the more personal elements and opening up for the larger parts of the production.
It’s an intimate and captivating performance that deserves a wide audience. And despite it being in the UK it should be mandatory viewing for all of the US congress. We give this 5 Laura Michelle-Kelly stars. It’s on at the Blue Elephant theatre until October 19th (2019) and you can purchase tickets here: http://www.blueelephanttheatre.co.uk/whatson