For Black Boys …….. The Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, Central London. A simple modest production. A simple set. But a powerFULL presentation.
Six black men of African and Caribbean heritage talk openly about life and its challenges, challenges that most black men face, challenges that only black men could possibly understand.
From aged six in school playing kiss chase but not being chased to be kissed, to the turbulent teenage years and not being guided emotionally, to experiencing adult years but not having been given the tools to be a man either by a father who was too strict, a father who didn’t care or a father who wasn’t there.
Ever wished black men would open up and talk freely about their pain, the racism they experience, their frustrations or their emotions? Go see this play and you’ll hear it all. From the pressures in the workplace, in relationships, with the police, in the community, their sexuality… It’s a no holds barred, straight up conversation with lots of “Amens” from the audience.
The music before curtain up set the mood. The music in the interval brought back memories and the music at the end wasn’t required because there was a mass exodus because the conversation was buzzing!
This production ended with (not surprisingly) a standing ovation, a bit of whooping and quite a few damp eyes. The message hit some of us quite hard.
Mark Akintimehin, Emmanuel Akwafo, Nnabiko Ejimofor, Darragh Hand, Aruna Jalloh and Kaine Lawrence deliver this play based on Ryan Calais Cameron’s book with so much feeling, they are so convincing in their roles.
I have daughters and I love them with all my heart but I often wonder if I would have been a different mother if I had a son. If you have a son, or sons, take him/them to see For Black Boys, watch their reactions, feel their emotions and leave the venue having had a little extra bonding.