For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy, to give the play its full title, started at the New Diorama Theatre and has arrived in a redirected version with the same cast in Sloane Square. Transfers can be tricky but this one works splendidly. Six black men all named after appropriate black colours – Onyx, Sable, Jet and so on, although the names are never actually used – are at at therapy class and what we get are their stories, monologues, riffs, songs, funny, sad and offering an insight into black lives, or at least the lives of young black men. The cast work together perfectly, each in turn holding the stage with a story, and then they all combine into some complicated routine, something almost dance but not quite. There is the gay one, the plump one who has problems finding girls, the boy who is not too dark who finds it easier to pick up girls, the ones who get in to trouble with the police because they are black and happen to be there, not because they have done anything. It was apparently inspired by the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2013 and Niozake Shanga’s For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf. The ensemble works perfectly as a whole and the result is an inspiring, illuminating evening of theatre with something to say – it entertains, it instructs. Some of the cast are straight out of drama school, others are experienced players but one would not know which was which. They work as a team. One not to be missed.
Onyx: Mark Akintimehin.
Pitch: Emmanul Akwafo.
Jef: Nnabiko Ejimofor.
Sable: Darragh Hand.
Obsidian: Aruna Jalloh.
Midnight: Kaine Lawrence.
Director: Ryan Calais Cameron.
Co-Director: Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu.
Designer: Anna Reid.
Lighting Designer: Rory Beaton.
Sound Designer: Nicola T. Chgang.
Movement Director: Theophilus O. Bailey-Godson.
Musical Director & Vocal Coach: John Pfumojena.
Production Photographs: Ali Wright.