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Black is the Color of my Voice 4**** - One4Review

Black is the Color of my Voice 4****

| On 13, Aug 2022

Apphia Campbell is an incredible performer and gives a magnetic performance as Nina Simone in this one woman show. ‘Black is the Color of my Voice’ meets Nina in conversation with her ‘daddy’ as she is going through the ritual of grieving his loss and seeking his forgiveness. The action follows her reflections on notes and letters from the past, telling the story of her early family life, finding music, her relationships and involvement in the civil rights movement.

The play is a little slow to get going and it felt at times voyeuristic watching the intimate one on one chat with ‘Daddy’. Though Apphia has such an incredible voice that when she sings to us directly the likeness is uncanny, the communication so powerful that it invites us into this very vulnerable place with her. I only wished that there was more of the show that was sung.

Apphia notes that she was inspired to write this play in reaction to the public perception of Nina as a Belligerent and headstrong performer, and instead write the story of the woman. The realities of the prejudice she faced as a young, gifted and black woman are at the core of her storytelling. Though seeing her through the lens of the relationship with her father also gives us the story of ‘Eugina’, the daughter. Apphia plays her with a youthful optimism and sense of injustice. The bed centre stage, which occasionally is used as a stage gives the action a bouncy and energetic quality. It re-affirms the idea of the young girl within. This connection to her childhood is brought movingly into focus when Nina is watching the news of the 4 young black girls murdered in a church bombing in Alabama. Watching Apphia’s face silently take in this news, lit very effectively by Clancy Flynn was one of the most moving moments of the show.

‘Black is the Color of my Voice’ gives a different perspective of one of the most influential and revered musicians of the 20th century. Although there are incredibly painful moments in the play, including a harrowing account of domestic violence, the show ends on a rendition of ‘Feeling Good’ that will truly leave you feeling good.

Trigger warning: Domestic violence and rape


Reviewed by Sarah

Pleasance at EICC – Cromdale Theatre

15.00 (1hr 10)

Until 20th Aug (not 17th)

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