15th Nov 2012 10:38am | By Louise Kingsley
No matter what the colour of your skin, trying to make a living as an actor isn’t easy and even glowing reviews are no guarantee of hitting the big time.
But according to actor and first time playwright Nathaniel Martello-White’s new play it’s even harder if you’re Black – or (as he calls his characters) Brown or Yellow.
David Lan’s inventive production places the protagonists in a two-tier set with most of their interaction taking place in the ground floor waiting room (where Leo Wringer’s resigned Older Black still hasn’t given up hope after decades of recalls and hanging about) and the endless round of seemingly futile auditions held on the upper level, a bare, light-framed box accessed by conveyor belt and stairs.
Here they compete for the elusive green light (the ultimate ticket out of this hellish, dispiriting limbo) by performing childishly demeaning tasks – from blowing up a latex glove to frantically donning layer upon layer of clothing – and hope that this time their non-white, non “floppy head” face will fit.
There’s much to admire - the snappy banter, the energetic performances (Daniel Francis’s Black who had his chance and probably won’t get another, Anthony Welsh’s angry Brown deciding to do his own thing,
Javone Prince’s habitually exaggerating Dull Brown and Howard Charles’ impressive Yellow) and the imaginative staging.
Enough in fact, to make one forgive the more self-indulgent lapses (a Star Wars style interlude adds little) and a tendency to unnecessary repetition in this otherwise zappy satire.
Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ
Tube | Southwark / Waterloo
Extended to 24th November
£10.00 - £15.00
Photo: Simon Annand