half god cast

Kwami Odoom as Demi and Rakie Ayola as Modupe Picture: Dan Tsantilis

The Half God of Rainfall

Birmingham Rep Studio


The Half God of Rainfall is the contemporary epic by Inua Ellams, who previously had strong acclaim with Barber Shop Chronicles.

He is a poet, and in his latest play, we see an imaginative contemporary story that splices Greek and Yoruba mythology.

With Nancy Medina’s direction, we are introduced to Demi, son of Zeus and mortal woman, Modupe. Demi has an unmistakeable talent for basketball. In the story line which transcends all concept of time, Ellams’ inspiration from Nigerian culture and Greek myth also focuses on current and important themes, adding a lyricism through ancient story telling.

Poet and playwright Ellams has an imagination that knows no bounds. It is hard to think that Yoruba and Greek mythology are linked with the sport of basketball, but Ellams makes it engagingly understandable.

His story is indeed metaphorical, and it highlights the poetic nature which coexists with the epic script. There is a bridge which links the ancient stories to the struggle’s women face today. Inspired by the great Greek legends, Ellams paints the picture of Zeus that that many would rather gloss over.

Through the themes which are sometimes hard to swallow, Ellams gives natural power to the women of history and indeed today, mythical and real. With a great stage design by Max Johns, the audience are presented with striking and uncomfortable images at times, reminding us of the power of human determination.

Beneath Ellams’ wonderous tale is a poetic message that affects us all. Ellams makes sure that we see the effects and consequences when power is abused, and yet he instils an innate hope amongst the prevalently tragic themes.

The mature themes which Ellams displays within his script are definitely amplified by the performances by the two performers. Rakie Ayola as Modupe and Kwami Odoom as Demi inject the show with beautiful dynamics. We are in the hands of superb artistic flair when we watch Ayola.

Effortlessly she flits back and forth between her mortal character, Modupe then switches smoothly into the roles of the epic ancient gods, including Zeus himself. She is unafraid to explore unimaginable emotion, and her willingness to bare all produces some awesome results. Modupe’s story is a brave account of power being lost and won, and Ayola is an exceptional artist which reflects Ellams’ fine writing Equally, Odoom plays the strong and tragic Demi with unbreakable force. His soft persona as the loyal son is superbly encouraging. His inflection within the role gives us hope as he blossoms into a strong gentleman not bounded by fate.

Ayola and Odoom are both magnificent in their own right, as they separate and act as narrators, telling the audience directly about the tale that includes the mythical gods along with its modern-day twist. It is wonderful to see their interactions together.

Sequences where they become mother and son are played out with a tender naturalism, and they find ways to bring the show’s energy to greater levels with battles upon the basketball court. The two artists are the maestros that leads Ellams’ metaphorically-rich tale, paving the way for intrinsically deep themes within the backdrop of Greek and Nigerian myth and legend. To 20-04-19

Elizabeth Halpin


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