Review Roundup: QUEENS GIRL IN AFRICA at Mosaic Theater
Mosaic Theater presents Caleen Sinnette Jennings' QUEENS GIRL IN AFRICA, the sequel to her 2015 QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD. Set in the 1960s, this one-woman show tells the story of a young Jacqueline Marie Butler, who travels to Nigeria after Malcom X is assassinated. QUEENS GIRL IN AFRICA opened January 8th and runs through February 4th.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Brittney Allen, MD Theatre Guide: Amongst other things, a singular highlight that stood out most glaringly was Rose's ability to fluently and realistically flow from dialect to dialect as if she, herself, had been born a West Indian/Igbo/South African in a past life; her commitment to performing each character in the most realistic sense is certainly a testament to how seriously she takes her craft... Everything about "Queens Girl in Africa" is simply superb, from the writing (which ran rampant with absolutely gorgeous prose) to the acting (I'm still in awe regarding Rose's ability to play such a vast array of different characters flawlessly) to the imaginative set design and use of 1960s era music (which played before the show began) to ease audience members into a long past, albeit not forgotten, time in American and Nigerian history
Sherrita Wilkins, DC Metro Theater Arts: Erika Rose is truly a magician in the way she fully embodies dozens of characters and dialects throughout the play, making us forget this is a solo performance. She weaves in and out of the accents, body language and distinct point-of-views of each character with an authenticity and precision that is spellbinding. This is a clear testament to Paige Hernandez's direction and choreography. Every movement Rose makes is fluid and purposeful. There's a scene midway through the play where she changes costumes. Instead of exiting the stage for a hard scene transition, Hernandez incorporates that moment into the story through a fun dance number that illustrates Jackie's growth and maturity. We see her transition into a more confident young woman. It's a moment that's fully lived out in front of the audience and a pleasure to watch.
Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post: The wide-eyed lens of a black American youth is fascinating once again in Jennings's bouncy account, and it's another fine showcase for the solo performer who impersonates the family, friends and boyfriends who captivate and confound Jackie. Erika Rose picks up in this Mosaic Theater Company production where actress Dawn Ursula left off in the 2015 "Queens Girl in the World" at Theater J. She narrates with spunk, and she's a whiz at voicing males and female roles in her family's internationally populated slice of Nigeria.
Missy Frederick, DC Theatre Scene: Queens Girl is a one-woman show, and the audience on this journey is the facile, versatile performer Erika Rose, who transitions with ease between numerous characters, from Erika's superficial International School chums to her uptight headmaster to that roguish Nigerian neighbor with an attitude and a British accent who eventually captures Jaqueline's heart. Director Paige Hernandez sets the scene with simple screen backdrops that light up with visual cues, and subtle sound effects that help transport the audience to Jaqueline's surroundings. Ultimately, Queens Girl is a joyful and engrossing window into a very personal story set in a time and place likely unfamiliar to much of the audience.
Photo Courtesy of Mosaic Theater.