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Posts Tagged ‘Ethan Hazzard’

One of the great pleasures of being an avid theatre-goer in the last quarter-century has been watching the emergence and development of an outstanding new generation of British playwrights, including James Graham, Lucy Kirkwood, Mike Bartlett, Jez Butterworth, Richard Bean and of course Roy Williams. This is the 20th play of his I’ve seen, and amongst his most ambitious. Seventy-five years of the Black British experience told through the personal story of one family. I found it captivating.

Sisters Dawn and Marcia are very close, but they’ve taken very different paths. Marcia is a successful QC whilst Dawn is looking after their mother, one of the Windrush generation, her partner Tony (when he isn’t touring with a band) and son Jermaine, in his late teens. Williams skilfully introduces important plot strands such as Dawn’s first son and Marcia’s relationships. There are a lot of skeletons in a lot of cupboards and they come out seamlessly. The characters represent three generations, from Windrush (the offstage mother) to the present, but also diverse perspectives and attitudes, which Williams’ presents with admirable even-handedness. He’s a master storyteller and here he blends the personal and the political to great effect. It’s a touch melodramatic occasionally, but it’s a meaty, deeply satisfying drama.

Cherrelle Skeete has taken over the lead role of Dawn at short notice following the withdrawal of Lucy Vandi through illness. She sometimes has to use the script but its handled deftly and doesn’t detract from what is a passionate performance, well matched by Suzette Llewellyn’s more restrained Marcia. Their sisterly chemistry is excellent. In a fine supporting cast, there’s an auspicious stage debut by Ethan Hazard as Jermaine. Paulette Randall’s staging brings great pace and energy.

A fine new play and a theatrical treat.

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