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Theatre Review: Clybourne Park ****

Michael Cox reviews a 'hilarious, cringe-worthy and thought-provoking' night out.

Clybourne Park takes a rather brave stance: to be a spiritual sequel to an influential play about American racism and expand it out in a modern context. The play is set in two different time frames, 1959 and 2009, but within the same house. In 1959 the house is in a white, middle-class neighbourhood; in 2009 the neighbourhood is predominately black. The crux of each act: a family of the alternative race has purchased the house, causing conflict within the community.

It’s easy to see why Bruce Norris’ script has won as many awards as it has: it is a sharp script that is witty, insightful and has no problem stirring controversy. It’s also a much richer script than it first appears, with clever symbols and dialogue that at first seem surface but prove pivotal. People who know the influential play/film A Raisin in the Sunwill also be treated to insightful Easter eggs as a bonus.

Michael Eman’s production for Rapture Theatre more than proves itself worthy of Norris’ play: it is a terrific production with excellent performances all-round. The eight-strong cast play multiple roles, each effectively and none standing out from uniform excellence. The pace is mostly quick (a little slow at times in the first act) and constantly involving.

All of which makes Clybourne Park a terrific night out: hilarious, cringe-worthy and thought-provoking.

Touring Scotland until October 12th.


Tags: theatre

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