Black is the Color of My Voice ★★★★ Seabright Productions and Play The Spotlight (online) | July 8 - 18, 2021


Black is the Color of My Voice is a one woman show in which we see Apphia Campbell's superb assumption of Mena Bordeaux, a Nina Simone-like character. It is all too easy to ignore the fact that all the names have, for some reason, been changed. Set shortly after the untimely death of her father, we see Mena seeking some sort of redemption in her own mind which churns with inner turmoil. Having wanted to become a concert pianist but prevented by systemic racism, she is forced to change her name to disguise from her mother the fact that she is playing and singing "the devil's music" in clubs. The chilling central climax of the show is the singer's beating and rape by her husband. Mena, like Nina, is shown as becoming deeply involved with the civil rights movement. Songs like "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" quickly became synonymous with the movement. It seems slightly ironic that what seems to have been adopted as Simone's signature tune, "Feeling Good," is actually a British show song. Unsurprisingly, classics like "I Put a Spell on You" and "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" are given context here. Campbell sings exquisitely and holds the audience in rapt attention, nothing in this show is overstated. Aided by Nate Jacobs' co-direction, the magnificent performance of "Black is the Colour of My Voice" reaches deep into the heart and mind of the woman concealed behind the sultry voice.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Geraint Lewis.

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When, Where, Getting there:
  • July 8 - 18, 2021
  • July 8 - 11: 7:30 pm, July 10 & 11: 2:30 pm, July 12 - 18: Available on demand
  • Seabright Productions and Play The Spotlight (online)
  • https://www.stream.theatre/season/159

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