REVIEW | Concubine | Birmingham Rep

Written and performed by Amahra Spence, Concubine is a hard-hitting play that explores human trafficking in our modern world.

In this one-woman play, Amahra takes the audience through a vulnerable 16-year-old girl’s painful experience as she is manipulated and abused. Amahra’s authentic language creates a character that is scarily relatable. As she deals with teenage anguish and the usual trials and tribulations of growing up, she is influenced by an older guy who convinces her he will help her with her career. He takes ownership over her body and we watch her break down in front of us as she loses her sense of self.

With big dreams to become a singer, this young girl who remains nameless becomes infatuated with this guy and believes he has her best interest at heart. When she is forced into gang rape and non-consensual sex, she is left wondering how far she will go in pursuit of her dream. 

Amahra’s storytelling is exquisite as she keeps it real. The character she has created could be any of us, creating deep empathy for the young girl. Daniel Bailey’s direction maintains the simplicity of the story and strikes the balance between the frightful things she has to deal with and the every day of modern life.

Commanding the stage, Amahra embodies numerous people and slips into the different characters with ease. Whether it’s the aggression of her disingenuous boyfriend, or the encouragement of her best friend, Amahra fills the stage with her characterisation, you almost forget it’s only her one stage.

It’s not an easy watch, but Amahra infuses the heavy subject with light humour. She has delicately crafted the script to tackle the issues head on but through her eyes, which are cloudy and confused. It takes a while for her to realise she is being taken advantage of and the audience are on that journey with her. 

Concubine is shocking, raw, but hugely important as Amahra delves into problems women face across the world and make it resonate with every single member of the audience. 

Concubine is on at the Birmingham Rep until 2 March, tickets can be found on their website.

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