Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 10°C


Review: Black Is The Colour Of My Voice, New Wolsey Theatre, February 2

PUBLISHED: 16:38 06 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:38 06 February 2017

Apphia Campbell  as Nina Simone in the play Black Is The Colour of My Voice

Apphia Campbell as Nina Simone in the play Black Is The Colour of My Voice

©Joshua Michael Tintner

Apphia Campbell writes, performs and sings this stunning, moving and inspirational show inspired by the life of Nina Simone.

Apphia Campbell  as Nina Simone in the play Black Is The Colour of My Voice Apphia Campbell as Nina Simone in the play Black Is The Colour of My Voice

Legends occupy a place somewhere in between genius and deity. Apphia Campbell in this show gives us both and a woman who exists somewhere in between. A character called Mina Bordeaux, whose life resembles Nina Simone’s and if you weren’t paying attention you’d be hard pressed to notice, as so many of the events described are from Nina Simone’s life, including her passion for Bach.

In a stark and empty set, Apphia as Nina/Mina reflects on her life, speaking to the Father she lost whilst their relationship was broken and through the show reaches out to the past in an attempt to make sense and heal her present. Apphia Campbell places this woman somewhere between life and death, reality and fantasy, alone yet defiantly honest as she makes peace with herself.

Campbell embodies the determined spirit of Nina Simone and her voice is gorgeous. Nina/Mina says “Memories are music” and when the moment comes when Eugenia transforms into “her”, “I Put a spell on you” is re-imagined, and is extraordinarily powerfully supernatural. Each number from the Nina Simone songbook Campell sings, carefully punctuates moments in Mina/Nina’s life giving a brilliant new resonance not only to the songs but also to the very act of performance itself.

2 chairs, a photo and a suitcase of memories show how the trappings of fame are transient and it is the artist themselves who sacrifice in order to communicate all our pain and rally us to keep going. The excellently paced and deeply poignant writing presents her journey as a quest to make sense of her gifts beyond her ambition that is dictated and thwarted by the terms laid out to her by the racist society she is born into. Mina/ Nina discovers her purpose and fire in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. “Missisippi goddam” is repeated by Apphia Campbell as a battle cry for Mina/Nina’s fight and through her muisc her echo still reaches out to us, urgent as ever, today.

This show was quite rightly sold out at the New Wolsey and is hugely recommended.

Jackie Montague

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley’s impromptu jam session at Sun Records in 1956 was a seminal moment for rock and roll. It inspired the Tony award-winning Broadway and West End smash Million Dollar Quartet, in Ipswich this week. We spoke to its star Martin Kemp.

MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace will serve up some behind the scenes stories and more when he visits Ipswich Corn Exchange next year.

Wildlife film-maker Saba Douglas-Hamilton talks about how motherhood reinvigorated her conservation passion and the challenges the planet’s facing ahead of talks in the region.

Popular countryside TV presenter Jules Hudson is in Ipswich , this week, to talk about his enthusiasm for rural life and his schooldays.

Despite its thrilling action sequences and sterling work from Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, Zach Synders Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) was impeded by its over reliance on CGI and a poorly written villain.

10 reasons why you need to watch ITV’s Gone to Pot – Bobby George’s toe in vodka, John Fashanu’s karate threat and Pat Butcher smoking a bong while painting a cactus

The Illegal Eagles are perennial favourites at the Regent, bringing country rock to Ipswich where it seems to have found a home.

Movies that tell a good story and have engaging characters provide that all-important re-watch value necessary for a great film. Arts editor Andrew Clarke presents a series of idiosyncratic suggestions for movies which may entertain if you are in the mood for something different.

Locations in Ipswich have emerged as the latest sets to feature in the new series of BBC series Detectorists – with one even doubling for London.

The Christmas lights in Ipswich were switched on last night, November 16 - we asked people in the town what they thought of the switch-on.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24