Review: ‘The Kitchen Toto’

Pic unfolds in 1950 when the British were facing attacks from a Kikuyu terrorist group known as Mau Mau. Bob Peck plays a regional police officer in charge of a small force of native Africans who lives with his frustrated wife (Phyllis Logan) and son.

Pic unfolds in 1950 when the British were facing attacks from a Kikuyu terrorist group known as Mau Mau. Bob Peck plays a regional police officer in charge of a small force of native Africans who lives with his frustrated wife (Phyllis Logan) and son.

When Mau Mau murder a black priest who’s condemned them from his pulpit, Peck agrees to take in the dead man’s young son (Edwin Mahinda) as his ‘kitchen toto’, or houseboy.

Story unfolds from the perspective of this alert, intelligent youngster who’s torn between his tribal feelings on the one hand and the loyalties he has both to his murdered father and to the British who, despite their unthinking and ingrained racism, have been kind to him.

Peck is solid as the cop, Logan suitably tight-lipped as his repressed wife, and young Edwin Mahinda excellent as the troubled, tragic hero, torn between two sides in an ugly conflict.

The Kitchen Toto

UK

Production

British Screen/Film Four/Skreba. Director Harry Hook; Producer Ann Skinner; Screenplay Harry Hook; Camera Roger Deakins; Editor Tom Priestley; Music John Keane; Art Director Jamie Leonard

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Bob Peck Phyllis Logan Edwin Mahinda Kirsten Hughes Robert Urquhart Edward Judd
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