We made a mistake when we bought our tickets for this show, picking seats in a row instead of at a cabaret table. This meant that we got to sit in very narrow, hard seats, with people directly in front of me, so I could not see most of the stage. So note to readers – select your seat with care!
As this was a musical, I could have just focused on listening, but the music was not all that interesting. So we left at the intermission.
Director Philip Akin wrote that he wanted to direct this play because it touched a chord for him. It is a play about “passing”, as a black man and what that does to your sense of self. The first act did not do this for me. Instead what I saw/heard was a coming of age story. Young man (Jahlen Barnes) reacting to pressure from Mom (Divine Brown) and from his community runs off to Amsterdam to find himself. Runs into a bunchy of hippy, free loving types. Hair came to mind, but the music was not as good.
I wish I had been able to stay to the end, to see where it all ended up. The cast was very good. I enjoyed Beau Dixon as the narrator and will look forward to seeing him at Stratford this summer. Philip Akin is a director whom I admire for works like Master Harold and the Boys at Shaw last summer and for Ravaged at Tarragon a few years ago. If this musical is important to him, I believe that it is something I should see. But the seats disagreed.