Choir Boy

Tarell Alvin McCraney

Choir Boy

Determined to make his mark like those before him Pharus is hell bent on being the best choir leader in the school’s 50 year history. But in a world built on rites and rituals, how will he conform to expectations and gain the respect he desperately needs? 3.4 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
Choir Boy

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Royal Court Upstairs
Director Dominic Cooke
Cast David Burke, Aron Julius, Eric Kofi Abrefa, Kwayedza Kureya, Gary McDonald, Dominic Smith Khali Best
From September 2012
Until October 2012
Box Office 020 7565 5000
 

Determined to make his mark like those before him Pharus is hell bent on being the best choir leader in the school’s 50 year history. But in a world built on rites and rituals, how will he conform to expectations and gain the respect he desperately needs?

Reviews

The Guardian

Lyn Gardner

Ultz's design, encompassing schoolhall, showers and dorms, creates the intimacy the play demands, Dominic Cooke directs with delicacy and an iron grip, and the cast make this play about hate and love genuinely sizzle.

11/09/2012

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The Financial Times

Sarah Hemming

School corridors offer great territory for dramatists, providing as much ambition, jealousy and revenge as a Jacobean court – with teenage hormones swirled into the mix. McCraney’s play relishes much of this, but it is also a subtle, funny and touching exploration of the pressures of identity on the young black American male. As a power struggle breaks out in the school choir, McCraney delicately picks his way through the questions about history, sexuality and religion that beset his young characters.

11/09/2012

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The Stage

Aleks Sierz

The splicing together of five stand-alone pieces in this way is a bit gimmicky and it often feels like the distinctive styles of the writers would be better showcased by individual half-hour slots delivered back-to-back. But the dialogue is sparky and shines despite a somewhat loose overriding structure, as does Roseman and Robinson’s slick direction and the cast’s well polished performances.

11/09/2012

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The Times

Dominic Maxwell

It’s hard to imagine a better home for Dominic Cooke’s poised production than Ultz’s set here, with the audience in two banks of seating facing each other while the actors perform on the traverse stage and all around the wood-panelled room. It’s thrilling to be so close when the choir sings spirituals such as I Feel Like a Motherless Child. And when David Burke as the ageing but intellectually provocative white teacher Mr Pendleton takes Bobby to task for using the N-word, the tension is inescapable.

11/09/2012

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The Evening Standard

Fiona Mountford

Like The History Boys, there’s a stud, a Christian and a homosexual with a sweet singing voice. Unlike The History Boys, there aren’t many snappy one-liners. The action’s focal point is Pharus (Dominic Smith), gifted and gay, who seems hell-bent on provocation from the start. At times Pharus behaves as if he’s in Glee, at others he suggests that he should by rights be giving the State of the Union address. He’s hard to like — there’s no sympathy vote for the plucky underdog here — and his path seems inexorably headed towards an explosive conclusion.

11/09/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Dominic Cavendish

This is in some ways the best and in many ways the worst play I’ve seen at the Royal Court Upstairs for a long while. Best because it’s, unusually, about choir boys: American, black and aspiring to “yes we can” success at a tough, godly all-male boarding-school, and when they sing, soulfully alone or in ensemble close-harmony, the sound is muscular, angelic and uplifting. Worst because US playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney gropes after meaty themes with all the expertise of an adolescent fumbling to undo a bra on a trembling first date.

17/09/2012

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The Sunday Times

David Jays

All hail the music director, Colin Vassell, building fervent close harmonies with a fantastic quintet of young actors.

16/09/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

The dialogue meanders, without narrative momentum. This script needed redrafting.

16/09/2012

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