Love a Good Play
Published in

Love a Good Play

Blues for an Alabama Sky

October 1, 2022. Lytletton Theatre.

Samira Wiley was indisposed so her understudy took to the stage and smashed it — brava Helena Pope.

I was worried. This play is 2hrs50. I thought… man that’s long. And I was wrong. The time flew…

We’re in Harlem in the 30s with 4 friends trying to survive and keep their dreams alive. One dreams of dressing Josephine Baker in Paris, one dreams of escaping her life and living free from controlling men, one dreams of setting up a clinic to provide birth control for black women in Harlem and one dreams of keeping the party alive to balance the seriousness of his medical practice.

Their lives are turned upside down when Guy and Angel meet a handsome stranger one night.

Why now? The backdrop of Roe vs Wade being overturned and the disturbing narrative emerging in the US (and the UK) that women shouldn’t have control over their own bodies, makes this relevant now. A cost of living crisis forcing increasing numbers into poverty, makes this relevant now. Homophobia and violence against gay men, makes this relevant now. Having a dream and what you do to keep that dream alive, makes this relevant now.

In the end one dream is achieved, one is dashed. One learns, one doesnt. One gives opportunity to evolve, one causes a crime. One is destined to repeat their mistakes repeatedly which is the saddest thing of all. Trapped.

Loved the set design that created the vibe of an apartment building with all the hustle and bustle and noise of busy Harlem. And shout out to Giles Terera who’s Guy was magnificent, touching and the gay best friend every girl wishes for.

4/5 All hail the understudy!

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Janet Hitchen

Laugh, practise yoga, drink tea, eat cake, read lots, theatre geek, slow runner, cold water swimmer, Mum to Milly, my BT.