Nathan Queeley-Dennis reprises the role of Orion in Chinonyerem Odimba’s Black Love which launches Kiln Theatre’s 2022 season, transforming the venue into the round.
With Book and Lyrics by Chinonyerem Odimba, Music by Ben and Max Ringham, the production runs at Kiln Theatre until 23 April, following a successful tour as part of Paines Plough’s Roundabout season last year.
Odimba directs and Nicholle Cherrie and Beth Elliott join the company for the run at Kiln Theatre.
You’re starring in Black Love at the Kiln Theatre, what can you tell us about the production?
I can tell you without any spoilers that it’s a great production that shifts the idea of what we expect from a “musical” in the best way possible. You will laugh, you will cry, you will scream, you will shout, and you will dance (hopefully).
What was it about Chinonyerem Odimba’s book that made you so keen to be a part of this?
It’s a blessing and an honour to work with Chino in the first place. When I initially auditioned for the role pre pandemic the piece was different but during the pandemic the world as we knew it changed as did the piece and with that it felt more important than ever to tell these kinds of stories.
Tell us more about your role, Orion?
Orion is my guy, I’ve been able to get to know him for quite a long time and I still learn more about him every day. He is an actor who is going through a lot with grief and his own disappointment in himself and his career. However, he hides his vulnerabilities behind his charming and charismatic exterior. I relate to him a lot in some ways.
This is your second time in the role following a tour last year, what do you think you’ll bring to Orion that’s different this time round?
I’m not sure if too much will be different you know, as a person I’ve grown a lot during this process. This production makes you ask a lot of questions about yourself, and I believe when you have a deeper and honest connection with yourself that only benefits the characters you play.
So, I think I’m bringing more refinement in the character, in what he doesn’t say and doesn’t do and all the nuance in and around that.
Tell us more about the music, and the impact it has on the production?
The music, made by my wonderful best friend Ben Ringham, has a really interesting impact on the piece. The music is used to drive the story forward however as the production progresses and the scenes get more intense it’s almost unsettling in a very exciting sense.
As you enjoy the music so much and you’re just vibing out, then all of a sudden you realise you’re actually watching something very sad or uncomfortable happen right before your very eyes but you low-key still want to rock your head and vibe out.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Black Love?
I say book it immediately, come with an open mind and heart. This isn’t like what we’re typically used to in the theatre, but this is a beautiful representation of what theatre is and should be.
If you come into it open, I promise it will be a wonderful evening (or matinee). A lot of heart and love has gone into this piece from the creative team and the cast and we’re just really excited to share that with you all so look forward to seeing you there!