Pros: Interesting and thought-provoking dialogue around black culture with an excellent performance from David Ogechukwu Isiguzo.
Cons: It runs for too long and some of the acting is a bit below par.
Shadows, written by Carguil Lloyd George Webley and directed by Kevin Michael Reed, is a play about three black inmates who find themselves in the same cell. The story centres around their conversations and disagreements within this confined space. They each tell their own story as to how they ended up there by talking to a camera that projects their face onto the back wall. This is a clever way to allow room for each character’s aside and to develop their individual story, but I personally found it a little bit awkward. Sitting to the side of the theatre meant that I couldn’t engage with the character, who was talking to the camera, and, simultaneously, I couldn’t see the projection very well.
The stage design is minimal and effective. The bare set creates the restrictive feeling of a cell and suits the pared back direction, allowing space for the dialogue to take centre stage – just as it should. This particular conversation around black culture is one that I have not engaged with that much before, tackling the issue of prejudice within a race. Edmund, played by David Monteith, believes that he is more committed to the plight of black people than Balak, played by Pharaon El-Nur. He believes himself superior in some way. This production looks at what it means to be black, whether it is the darkness of your skin, knowledge of your heritage or commitment to the cause.
The acting is of a good standard, although I must say there are some slightly less-than-believable moments; in particular, the outbreaks of violence feel forced and directed. However, a special mention must go to David Ogechukwu Isiguzo, who is outstanding. He plays Chase with great ease and sensitivity. For all the serious dialogue that takes place there are lovely moments of humour from all of the actors. The major problem is the length of the production. The script loses momentum and, consequently, this insightful commentary into black culture becomes a bit tedious.
Shadows has lots of potential, some important things to say and is definitely worth going to see. It is just a shame its impact isn’t felt more powerfully.
Writer: Carguil Lloyd George Webley
Director: Kevin Michael Reed
Booking Information: This production has finished its run.