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1 March 2021

REVIEW|The Color Purple at Home, Curve Theatre Leicester (Online Stream)


In 2016, I was introduced to a show which I fell in love with instantly and it wasn't until three years later in 2019 that a joint production from the Curve in Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome that I finally got to see it in person and it had a part of my heart forever. That show was The Color Purple.

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith

After the success of Sunset Boulevard at Home before Christmas, the Curve has treated the audience to another delight of all the senses and emotions. When I last saw the show two years ago, I was lucky to watch the last perfomance of the whole run in Birmingham and sat in the stalls, where I felt very part of the action but The Colour Purple at Home experience was something else.

The show is based on the Alice Walker book of the same name, a story which follows the life of Celie, a young black female, over a forty year timeline starting from the age of fourteen, living with a man who she considers her father, sent away to marry a man she doesn't know and her many struggles, turmoils and troubles. It is a story with some very hard hitting and heavy topics but it is a story of hidden strengths and has as much relevancy now as it did the first time I saw it.

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith

The one obvious difference between this production and my previous watch was the fact that this is obviously a digital stream. I wasn't sure prior to watching whether it would translate from "in person" to screen. However I was actually engrossed more this way. Sat watching it through a screen gave me the chance to look at it in a different way. With very limited props and no scenery, the whole piece really highlighted the amazing acting of the cast and the cinematography and clever camera angles made you feel like you were right on stage part of the action, the camera being a character itself.

The creative team worked absolute wonders. The lightening design by Ben Cracknell helped lead the action and set the scene, highlighting the simplicity of the stage. The use of a bright purple light behind Celie during the song I'm Here was almost as emotional as the song itself. Mark Smith's socially distanced choreography was inspired and I honestly think it was the most perfect production that could be put on during this really difficult time in theatre.

T'Shan Williams returned as the lead character Celie, a character that even after two years away, I feel she was almost born to play. Her rendition of I'm Here has the ability raise every hair on your body and open your heart and your emotions. She was joined in returning by the majority of the cast from the original run including Danielle Fiamanya as Nettie, Ako Mitchell as Mister, Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Harpo and Karen Mavundukure as Sofia. Carly Mercedes Dyer joined the cast in the role of Shug Avery. Her voice was beautiful, from her solo in Too Beautiful for Words to her and T'Shan's voices blending together What about Love (Reprise) was one of the best moments of the show for me.

For me, the  only downside to this show was the silence, the almost painful silence due to the lack of an audience. What I wouldn't give to hear the roar of a real life audience after over a year away. Through tear filled eyes, I applauded at the end as even though they couldn't hear me, the cast in my eyes needed the recognition for the stellar job they did. I would one million per cent recommend bringing this amazing production into your homes before it finishes. This show will not only leave you breathless but will also leave you feeling more empowered than ever afterwards. A wonderful production from start to finish. Wow! Wow! Wow!

The Color Purple at Home streams online until Sunday 7th March. Tickets are available from HERE.

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