The Color Purple - UK Tour Review

The Color Purple is a book that has made an impact for decades.  From award winning novel, to smash hit film, it's now the task of the brilliant Made at Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome to bring this show to stage. It's a powerful story that on the surface isn't supposed to be an easy watch; the tale of Celie and her sister who face adversity, courage, and hope in the face of their own personal journeys. But it's also a story of freedom, joy, and personal awakening that brings a whole lot of light to this impactful story. 

The Color Purple is currently touring the UK and has made its way to Southampton. It's currently at the Mayflower Theatre and it's definitely blowing audiences away. 

The Color Purple is a story that is originally told through a series of letters between sisters Celie and Nettie. Celie is a young woman who is down-trodden, yet still full of high hopes and wishes for her future. Stuck living with a man who neither loves or respects her, she faces abuse and feels tiny compared to the world around her. Throughout the story you see how she finds her voice, learns to love herself, and makes a life for herself in the most unlikeliest of places.

The staging is simple yet striking. With two house cutouts on a wooden flat, the show can seamlessly move from Mister's house to the Juke Joint, and the woods in the blink of an eye. The simplicity of the staging allows you to take in the full impact of the show in front of you.

Told through dialogue intertwined with powerful and poignant songs, this show seeks strength in its simplicity.  Each song is a standalone powerhouse, yet blends seamlessly with the rest of them to create something beautiful. From the belters like "Hell No!", to the moving "What About Love?" and the titular track "The Color Purple", each song leaves you in awe of the talent on stage. 

Me'sha Bryan stole the show as Celie. Bringing in both the vulnerability of the character mixed with the hope and power that she possesses by the end of the show. She commanded the stage and allowed the audience to follow the story with such sensitivity and compassion. Her singing left the audience wishing they could give a standing ovation after each song (I think the extended applause at every opportunity spoke for itself!). Aaliyah Zhane took to the stage as Nettie, who whilst is absent for a large portion of the show, still makes an impact each time she graces the stage with her warmth and vocal skills. 

I adored Rosemary Annabella Nkrumah as Shug Avery, the ballsy performer who makes the audience fall in love with her alongside Celia. Whilst Anelisa Lamola brought the house down with her mesmerising performance of Sofia. With witty quips and a voice that brought the house down, she brought light and shade to the show at just the right point. Of course whilst the women are the centre of this show, the men bring a brilliant range of performances, including Ahmed Hamad as Harpo and Ako Mitchell as Mister. 

The Color Purple isn't an easy watch. It's one that takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and leaves you feeling somewhat emotionally drained as you follow the emotions of each character on stage. It lifts you up and makes you laugh, with perfect acting that makes that arguable one of the best pieces of theatre I have seen in a long time. I can't be the only one to feel that way as the standing ovation and constant applause ensured that the actors knew how brilliant they truly are. It's one of the most utterly mesmerising musicals that the world needs to see. 

The Color Purple is on at the Mayflower Theatre until 29/10/2022 and then continues on tour. To book tickets and find out more information : The Color Purple Tickets

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