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Travelin' Through: Broken Toys @CervantesTheatr

Things are a bit different at the Cervantes Theatre when you see Broken Toys. You enter through the upstairs dressing rooms and go down to the theatre. It is a circuitous route, much like the story of Marion. You end up in the same place but have taken a different journey. And like what the old prostitute said. It's not the work but the stairs. And there before you is the theatre, but not entirely as I recall it. It feels like an intimate cabaret venue with tables and a shiny stage. And there we are introduced to Marion. Marion grew up in a small town during the Franco regime. A place where looking a bit different could make you the subject of gossip and a threat to your life. And despite being assigned male at birth and the attempts of family and father figures, she was an outsider in her town.  And so Marion sets off on a journey to the city. And in the shadows, she finds a place to hide. But with guidance from drag performer Dorian Delacroix begins to find her voice. Her journe

Sneak previews and gospel singing: The Amen Corner

This week I was lucky enough to catch a rehearsal of the first act of The Amen Corner, which starts previewing at the National Theatre next week. Within forty five minutes it is fascinating to see even in rehearsal how all the elements of the story are laid out.

The play is set in Harlem in the 1950s and tells the story of a fiery pastor Sister Margaret whose estranged husband unexpectedly returns. Combined with the antics of her son her congregation is soon in revolt against her hard line leadership.

Written by James Baldwin, it was his first attempt at a play and covers the role of the church in African American families, along with how racial prejudice led to ingrained poverty amongst the communities. Jazz and gospel singing features throughout the piece and this will include members from the London Community Gospel Choir.

Even in rehearsal the cast and performances from both some new and familiar faces will be sure to enthral. After the rehearsal we were trying to work out when this play was staged in London. It possibly was staged in the 1970s at the Tricycle Theatre, but in a time of economic crisis and questions around hard line religion, it is perhaps time for the show to have its run in London.

One to discover and also part of the £12 Travelex season... Check the website for details of the run...

More details on the show are in the following...

Background to the photoshoot is below...

Photo credits: Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Sister Margaret Alexander) and Eric Kofi Abrefa (her son, David). Photo by Richard Hubert Smith.

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