What To Watch On Stage: April 2022

There are too many must-see shows this April.

Our cousins from across the pond bless us with performances of Jeremy O Harris’ Daddy at the Almeida and Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Marys Seacole at the Donmar Warehouse. Meanwhile, intimate explorations of Black British identity abound with Black Love at the Kiln Theatre, For Black Boys… at the Royal Court and The Pappy Show: Boys at the Barbican. And, if you’re looking for some variety this season, make sure to check out Essex on Stage at the Bush Theatre and Burn It Down at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Daddy @ Almeida Theatre

From the writer of Slave Play, which received a record 12 nominations a the 74th Tony Awards, and the co-writer of Zola (2020), Jeremy O Harris’ Daddy follows the relationship between Franklin, a young black artist played by Terique Jarrett, and Andre, an older white art collector played by Claes Bang. In this Bel Air tale of love and family, intimacy is a commodity and the surreal gets real: a gospel choir emerges from an infinity pool and a mother stops at nothing to save her son’s soul. When it’s summer every day when even is it?

Daddy plays at the Almeida Theatre from 26th March-30th April.

Book tickets and find out more here.

Marys Seacole @ Donmar Warehouse

From the writer and director team that brought the critically acclaimed Fairview to the Young Vic in 2019, comes Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Marys Seacole, directed by Nadia Latif. Marys Seacole tells the story of Mary Seacole, the pioneering Jamaican nurse, traveller, hotelier and businesswoman. The play puts the concept of a biopic through a kaleidoscope in a dazzling exploration, across oceans and eras, of what it means to be a woman who is paid to care, and how, ultimately, no one is in charge of their own story.

Marys Seacole plays at the Donmar Warehouse from 15th April-4th June.

Book tickets and find out more here.

Black Love @ Kiln Theatre

Following a five-star, critically acclaimed national tour, Chinonyerem Odimba’s Black Love comes to Kiln Theatre for a strictly limited run. Set in their small London flat, the play follows siblings Aurora and Orion as the memories of their parents’ Black love surrounds them. When that love is threatened, they must first find understanding and connection before they can begin to find a way back to one another. An explosion of form-busting storytelling, Black Love celebrates and investigates the Black experience through music, real-life stories and imagined worlds. 

Black Love plays at the Kiln Theatre from 6th-23rd April.

Book tickets and find out more here.

Essex on Stage @ Bush Theatre

Originally planned for this year’s postponed VAULT Festival, Essex on Stage will platform bold, ambitious, homegrown performances that celebrate and champion Essex and Outer East London artists. This includes Anne Odeke’s Princess Essex, which, set in 1908, follows Joanaa as she decides to enter herself into one of the country’s most prestigious beauty pageants, disguised as a Senegalese Princess. You can also catch Michelle Payne’s To Have and To Hold, a piece that spans twelve years as Him and Her make decisions that lead them o where they are today at separate weddings.

Princess Essex plays at the Bush Theatre on 14th and 15th April.

To Have and To Hold plays at the Bush Theatre on 16th April.

Book tickets and find out more here.

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy @ The Royal Court

Following its sold-out premiere at the New Diorama Theatre in 2021, Ryan Calais Cameron’s new play comes to the Royal Court for a limited five-week run. Father figures and fashion tips. Lost loves and jollof rice. African empires and illicit sex. Good days and bad days. Six young Black men meet for group therapy, and let their hearts – and imaginations – run wild.  For Black Boys…, inspired by Ntozake Shange’s seminal work For Colored Girls… is located on the threshold of joyful fantasy and brutal reality: a world of music, movement, storytelling and verse – where six men clash and connect in a desperate bid for survival. 

For Black Boys… plays at the Royal Court from 31st March-30th April.

Book tickets and find out more here.

Concha @ Brixton House

Concha is a semi-autobiographical show that explores the queer experience and all of the glorious and messy things that comes with it. In this collection of monologues, we find out about Concha, who has just discovered they’ve contracted an STD after doing something they shouldn’t – which takes them on a journey of past and current relationships, friends, love, family, anal sex and the importance of the use of condoms. With the use of monologues, voiceovers, music, lip-syncs and video projection, we’re taken into Concha’s world as they try to find their place in the world.

Concha plays at Brixton House from 26th-29th April.

Book tickets and find out more here.

The Pappy Show: Boys @ The Barbican

Bursting with physical energy, tender reflection and playful improvisation. Laugh, celebrate and listen as these boys dive headfirst into their experiences of being young men of colour. Weaving slick choreography and dialogue with a soundtrack of contemporary beats, this award-winning show celebrates male tenderness, silliness, vulnerability and community. Joyful, electric, unscripted and occasionally raw but always tender. BOYS was created by this 10-strong company to unravel preconceptions and uncover the endless possibilities of masculinity.

The Pappy Show: Boys plays at the Barbican from 12th-23rd April.

Book tickets and find out more here.

Burn It Down @ Theatre Royal Stratford East

Burn It Down is a series of six newly commissioned script-in-hand performances about urgent political issues. Each piece will be a stand-alone scrutiny, calling out injustice and interrogating the systems that wield power. The series includes Babirye Bukilwa’s Yummy, which examines the relationship between diet culture, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, self-harm, class and misogyny. You can also catch Lettie Precious’ If I Speak, which follows HOST, a passionate creative who wants to change the world but must decide what’s more important to them – being British and being censored, or losing everything and risking deportation by speaking their truth and changing the world. And the series concludes with Travis Alabanza’s I’m Tired of Waiting, Someone Pass Me The Duct Tape, which follows two trans girls who are tired of being the ones kept waiting, so decide to take back control.

Yummy plays at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 21st April.

If I Speak plays at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 26th April.

I’m Tired of Waiting, Someone Pass Me The Duct Tape plays at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 5th May.

Book tickets and find out more here.

Unknown Soldier @ Camden People’s Theatre

The Unknown Soldier recounts the stories of the Black British War Veterans who fought for Britain in WW1 & WW11. The Unknown Soldier creates an intricate narrative through the interdisciplinary medium of Dance, Music, Text and Visuals to create a captivating and engaging narrative of the untold stories of these brave men as well as the Black women who supported the war effort.

Unknown Soldier plays at Camden People’s Theatre on 19th April.

Book tickets and find out more here.

Handa’s Surprise @ The Albany Theatre

And, finally, a family show for the Easter Holiday. A blend of physical performance, puppetry, live music and song, Handa’s Surprise follows Handa as she journeys to see her best friend Akeyo, in the next village. Handa is taking 7 delicious fruits as a surprise – but 7 different animals have 7 very different ideas… could you resist the sweet-smelling guava? How about a ripe red mango or a tangy purple passion fruit? An intimate, magical production with audience participation, come and share in the magical tangerine surprise!

Handa’s Surprise plays at the Albany Theatre on 24th April.

Book tickets and find out more here.


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