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EDINBURGH 2014 - BWW Reviews: BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MY VOICE, Gilded Balloon, August 17 2014

Black Is The Color Of My Voice is loosely based on the life of Nina Simone. It follows the three day period in which jazz musician Mena Bordeaux undergoes a three day spirtual cleansing after the unexpected death of her father.

Bordeaux is portrayed by the very capable Apphia Campbell. Her delivery is clear and she has a fantastic stage presence. She describes how she was thought to be a child prodigy after learning to play the piano at the age of three. She was selected to perform at a recital but when her parents weren't allowed to sit at the front because of their race she refused to play: a civil rights activist from a young age.

The dialogue is broken up with music although not as much as I would have liked. Campbell breaks into short bursts of songs and her voice has the audience captivated. However, I'm guessing due to the short running time, she doesn't have time to perform anything in its entirety, which is a shame.

The play gets heavier as she talks about her husband Arthur and the domestic violence she is subjected to. In places it becomes a little hard to watch. The civil rights movement is also covered and we are told of some of the appalling attacks on black churches and neighbourhoods. Haunting and engaging, Black Is The Color Of My Voice is an excellent piece of theatre.

Black Is The Color Of My Voice runs at the Gilded Balloon until August 25th.

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From This Author Natalie O'Donoghue

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