Following a sell-out run in London’s West End, innovative Afrobeats musical Oliva Tweest heads out on a whistle-stop UK tour this year, coming to the Belgrade Theatre 4-6 October.
Created, produced and directed by radio presenter and producer Yinka Ayinde, aka PureYinkz, this energetic, feel-good show returns to the stage with an exciting lineup of new black British talent.
Leading the cast as London hustler, club promoter and self-professed “gyali” (ladies’ man) Tobi will be rising star Luke Wilson, a recent RADA graduate whose West End theatre credits include the Olivier Award-nominated The Scottsboro Boys and award-winning Disney musical The Lion King.
Doubling up as Testimony and Joanna will be Latisha Antoine, an alumnus of the prestigious Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School. As well as starring in BBC Three drama Excluded, she has performed with Leona Lewis at the Royal Albert Hall and as part of BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend Festival. Her theatre credits include Dick Whittington And His Cat at both the Hackney Empire and Broadway Theatre, and Eternal Ages at Shaw Theatre.
Completing the lead cast will be rising star Emmanuel Imani, who reprises his role as fan favourite character Pastor Bayodele. A graduate of the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, Imani is currently starring alongside Michaela Coel and John Goodman in the hotly anticipated BBC and Netflix series Black Earth Rising. Previous roles include 2016’s Criminal alongside Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones, and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit alongside Chris Pine and Keira Knightley.
First staged in London in 2013, Oliva Tweest is the UK’s first ever Afrobeats musical, the brainchild of Sky Academy Arts Scholarship recipient PureYinkz. This refreshingly original production tells the story of a young man with big ambitions as he attempts to shake off his shady reputation and carve out a serious career in the entertainment business.
Driven by his need to succeed, Tobi plans the ultimate concert in the hopes of attracting his idol, the Afrobeats legend D’Banj, even naming his show after the musician’s international hit song Oliver Twist. But when he finds out that the landlord of his chosen venue, Pastor Bayodele, is planning to convert the building into a church, Tobi is forced to disguise his true intentions…
Join Tobi as he navigates comedic and sometimes explosive clashes with women, family, tradition, and his reawakened conscience, all set to an irresistible mix of classic and original hit songs, performed by a live African band alongside high-energy choreography.
Oliva Tweest shows at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 October. Tickets