Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Sacrifice, Tina Tieno, VAULT Festival ★★★★☆

Sacrifice written and performed by Tina Tieno, is a moving and evocative story about a mother’s plight to save her bright daughter from a chilling future. Set in Kenya during the 60s, Tieno takes us through a story about Aneno. A mother who refuses to allow her husband to marry off their 14-year-old child to an old man and her story of how she succeeds. It is part theatre, part storytelling which is so reminiscent of indigenous styles of theatre making. 

Tieno has instant charisma, the joy is implicit in her storytelling creating a welcoming environment. Instantly the story captures the audience, drawing us in to learn about the customs of Aneno’s village life. Tieno is the only performer on stage, she embodies each and every character with distinct physicality. Her portrayal of Aneno’s mother, in particular, was amazing. The stiffness of an older woman’s aged body is infused with an air of matriarchal grace. Due to her excellent character-making, it was hard to not become immersed in the story.

The story is long and detailed, it follows a linear plot interrupted by bursts of narrative and small diversions such as Aneno’s money-making schemes. It all returns to Aneno’s love for her child and her desire to protect her. It was really beautiful to witness that love which was the heart of Sacrifice. 

At times, I thought the performance could have used some polishing up, there were a few too many breaks and pauses which felt unintentional and definitely unnecessary. Ultimately, it may come down to a combination of nerves and disturbances in the performances (latecomers, set issues etc). But I could feel Tieno’s nervous energy interrupt the building narrative. 

Overall, I loved the immersive story spun by Tieno, it was moving and reminded me of the sacrifices made by so many women. The closing lines added a personal spin to the tale, shedding some light on our narrator’s character, which brought tears to my eyes. It rounded off the performance perfectly, and as Tieno took her bow I could see the audience agreed, with a standing ovation from the row in front. 

Recommended Drink: For Sacrifice, I would recommend a honey tea, for Aneno’s beekeeping efforts.

Performances of Sacrifice have now concluded at the VAULT Festival. Keep up with Tia Tieno through her website for future showings.

Aditi Mohan

Our Race, Ethnicity & Culture Editor & London Editor. Obsessed with the Postcolonial world. Aditi likes to look at how theatre and comedy reflects today’s world of multiplicity. She’s keen to watch any kind of theatre or performance but comedy is her go to, because if you don’t laugh you’ll cry.

Festivals: Paris Fringe (2020), VAULT Festival (2023), Bloomsbury Festival (2023)
Pronouns: She/Her