So my partner sends me a text on the Friday evening, ” how do you fancy going to the theatre on Saturday night”? “Sure why not i replied, sounds perfect, nice relaxing weekend ahead, take in a play and some dinner and a glass of wine, sounded perfect to me after a long hectic week.
The play he chose to book was called Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, I had not heard of it but then again the last few months had been wall to wall activities with projects so I had not got a chance to read up on any plays of late. However this sounded good and of course my partner who is from Nigeria and well read in all things theatre and cultural events was a good judge of what was worth viewing and what was not, Being a medical consultant he is into reading all he can on people and places, its what he loves, His knowledge of many topics is un questionable so of course I was looking forward to this play he had chosen for us to view.
When I read up on the play it had received great reviews from around the world, it promised to be very entertaining, both musically and in comedy, well its not all plays where you find that all the actors actually play their own instruments.
It turns out that my partner had booked us seats right up front , 4 rows back from the stage.
The play got started and from the get go there was banter from the actors in the band, they had me in stitches, teasing each other and pulling the craic out of each other, I laughed so much at each comment, Tolido Lucian Msamati actually reminded me of my own partner, Very intelligent and so knowledgeable, well read gentleman who had some great sayings that were so thought provoking, well as they say, there is always one isn’t there in a group of friends, Levee O-T Fagbenle was very different from the rest of the group, he wanted bigger things for the band, he had it all planned out how they were going to hit the big time, Slow Drag Giles Terera kinda just wanted to go with whatever he was told to do, he just wanted to play his music, get his money and be done,, Cutler? Clint Dyer now he was gona do what ma Rainey wanted to do and was a main force to be reckoned with in getting things done along with Tolido, Ma Rainey
Sharon D Clarke
was excellent, her voice is amazing and when she said jump her manager Irvin Irish actor
Finbar Lynch jumped, (finbar was excellent, great energy) she knew how to handle him and the recording studio boss, I don’t want to give the plot away or talk any more about the content but I have to get this off my chest, The entire play was amazing the acting was like nothing i have seen in my life on the live stage,, The songs had me shaking my hips in the seat like i was sitting on nettles lol,, movies can draw you in and push you out but they have so many re takes and re shoots and so on, theatre is life, there is no room for mistakes but apart from that, the actors have to draw you in and convince you of how real it all is, its a live movie, i admire actors on the screen but my admiration for what I call the REAL Actors are the ones who can get on that stage and one minute have me laughing in hysterics and the next im sad and feeling their energy and then im shouting un willingly for one guy to watch out and the next I’m in tears in my seat crying for all of them, crying for the pain in their lives, crying for what that pain can cause in later life, how thousands of black africans suffered so much,, I have seen films based on slavery and yes I cried, but this was real, this was in front of me, I was feeling every ounce of happiness and sadness, That’s acting, however the sad part is, it may be acting today but remember it was reality and did happen many years ago and in some ways it prob still happens somewhere in the western world and until you hear it for your self right there in front of you from the horses mouth then you have not heard it or felt it at all, your entire soul gets engulfed in all that is happening, and to top it all off, they are all brilliant musicians,,
All the actors were amazing to say the least but for me Levee took the show to such a level that I wanted to grieve for his soul, for his life, his shattered dreams, never before had i experienced so many emotions in the space of two and half hours,, I was still feeling it all when we left,, Ohh and not to leave out, the aul Irish police man had to be in there, sure what else was an irish man doing in USA that time, sure most became Police officers who loved the auld hand shake.
If you have not yet seen Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, get online NOW and book your tickets before it finishes on the 18th May in the National Theatre
I can tell you that you will still be talking about it a week later just as I am today, let me know your thoughts on it after you have seen it, I bet you will be gob smacked,
Well done to all the cast of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, you did an amazing job, Hollywood would be so enriched with all of you in their books.
Sharon D Clarke
John Paul Connolly
Chicago, 1927. In a recording studio on the city’s South Side, a battle of wills is raging.
Ma Rainey, Mother of the Blues, uses every trick in the book to fight her record producers for control of her music. Hardened by years of ill-treatment and bad deals, she’s determined that ‘Black Bottom’, the song that bears her name, will be recorded her way.
But Levee, the band’s swaggering young trumpet player, plans to catapult the band into the jazz age. His ambition puts them all in danger.
Inspired by the real-life Blues legend and infused with her music, August Wilson’s play speaks powerfully of a struggle for self-determination against overwhelming odds.
Sharon D Clarke plays Ma Rainey.