Black is the Colour of My Voice by Apphia Campbell. Wilton’s Music Hall, Grace Alley, London 4****. William Russell

Streaming from 8 to 11 July and then on demand until 18 July this recording of Apphia Campbell’s one woman show based on the life of Nina Simone was made on June 2021 in Wilton’s music hall as part of a series of one night shows being presented there. Campbell has toured the show for some time – iut won an Edinburgh Fringe First award and has been seen at Crazy Coqs and the Trafalgar Studios as well as abroad. This film is a splendid record of a moving and powerful performance. Wilton’s also provides the ideal setting – it catches just the right slightly sleazy jazz club atmosphere it requires as Apphia tells of her relationship with her parents, with her church and with the Civil Rights movement. In fact Apphia never admits to playing Simone, the show is “inspired” by her, but no matter. It is about her. In lockdown lots of theatre was not available and recordings like this provide a splendid chance to catch up, to visit venues one might never get to – Wilton’s is a case in point. Not the greatest theatre as a venue for song it works a treat and the decayed albeit carefully restored hall makes an ideal setting for this tremendous show.

Directors: Arran Hawking and Nate Jacobs.
Lighting design Clancy Flynn.
Sound design: Tom Lishman.

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