Aug 12 2023 | By More

★★★★☆      Bold

Lyceum Theatre Studio (Venue 593): Fri 4 – Sun 27 Aug 2023
Review by Hugh Simpson

Nova, from the Lyceum and Pemberley Productions at the Lyceum Studio is a bright, sparkling, provocative and convincing piece of work.

Nigerian-American Obehi Janice details a romantic and sexual past in a part-tribute to, but mostly takedown of, the 18th century adventurer, author and libertine Giacomo Casanova.

Obehi Janice in Nova. Pic Stuart Armitt

There is a fearlessness and a self-possession to Janice’s stage character, with a determination to take her rightful place at the centre of the narrative, that creates a huge impact. With the backdrop of glitz and silver that is Eleanor Kahn’s design, she is unapologetic about her wishes and her intellect.

Her storytelling style is relaxed and insistent, with Caitlin Sullivan’s direction and Nissy Aya’s dramaturgy helping create a wonderfully coherent effect. There is a rhythm to the piece that makes it simply fly by.

Isabella Byrd’s lighting, Kathy Ruvuna’s sound and Ari Fulton’s costume help to create the larger-than-life figure that simply commands the space with its thoroughly merited audacity and confidence.

There is a great deal of adult content, but it is never gratuitous and never apologised for, simply treated with the seriousness it deserves. There is also a great deal of humour that does not set out to shock or to belittle, merely to reflect and assert, although there is the odd reference that flies over the head of non-Americans.


That Casanova is a figure of historical repute, and regarded as an intellectual, when it appears he was more of a bampot, is not an accident of history – if he had not been a white man from the Venice of the Grand Tour era, responses would have been different. Janice is unapologetic about putting the desires of ‘a dark-skinned Black woman’ centre stage.

Those who complain about the undermining of the Western canon should see Nova, which is a spirited and fun demonstration of how alternative viewpoints can supplant and educate without in any way dumbing down.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
Lyceum Theatre Studio, Grindlay St, EH3 9AX (Venue 593)
Friday 4 – Sunday 27 August 2023
Daily (not Mons) at 5.00 pm
Tickets and details Book here.


Lyceum website:

Artist Instagram: @obehijaniceisnova

Obehi Janice in Nova. Pic Stuart Armitt


#EdFringe, Review, Lyceum,

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