Thursday, 1 August 2013
'The Amen Corner' National Theatre, Olivier ****
'The Amen Corner' is a masterpiece of creativity and definitely suggests and shows how Black Theatre has progressed over the past five to ten years. The performances by the company were impressive to say the very least. Marianne Jean-Baptiste's interpretation of Margaret Alexander was outstanding as she has worked so technically on the characters personal journey from running away from her ex husband and turning to the church as a sanctuary to change her own life and others in the slums of Harlem, New York. In addition to this, the other two leading female characters Odessa played by Sharon D Clarke and Ida Jackson performed by Naana Agyei-Ampadu were superb as you could see the passion the characters have for their community and religion. I think that Rufus Norris' direction from James Baldwin's 1954 play was brilliant as I could see the religious and racial issues exuding through the very good dialogue that Baldwin wrote nearly sixty years ago. I was pleased with Norris' work on this production. I particularly liked how Set Designer Ian MacNeil has worked with the Olivier Amphitheatre format through the use of levels where the church is positioned directly in level with the circle and the basement apartment in line with the stalls. This was a superb creative decision and choice to make as the Olivier poses a difficult challenge. The musicians Tim Sutton, Bryon Wallen and Joseph Roberts were brilliant throughout the production as they entwined the gospel attributes of to the jazz Harlem social background. I found aspects of the play to be highly emotive and highly amusing especially the performances by the three female leads. I liked my experience at 'The Amen Corner' and I would recommend it to you.
Posted by Kieran (The Dramatic) Knowles at 22:33