Nigerian musical makes history in the West End

An intriguing mix of musical, political satire and romantic comedy made history as the first Nigerian musical to play in the West End last month.

Wàkáá! The Musical, which features a strong Nigerian cast, is a cheery musical written by former lawyer Bolanle Austen-Peters, who also serves as producer. It was first performed in London’s West End on 22 July and enjoyed a sold out run until 25 July at London’s The Shaw Theatre.

The story follows the lives of a group of young graduates with varied backgrounds, who strike upon a wager following university and then face challenges that drive them apart, until they are reunited again. The play connects with issues affecting young Nigerians, all set against a satirical backdrop of the country’s politics.

Mawuyon Ogun, who plays Mama Ke, said people had thanked the production for ‘representing us well outside the four walls of our country’. She added how proud she was to represent her home country, saying it made her ‘unrepentantly Nigerian’.

Project manager Sola Oyebade hopes the success of Wàkáá! will encourage more international artists and plays to come to the West End ‘If we can do it, they can do it,’ she said.