Review: The Amen Corner by James Baldwin at the National Theatre

amen_corner_Marianne Jean-Baptiste_reviewOccasionally reviews can (and should) be simple. Like simply saying “go and watch this”. Not because there is nothing else to say but  because the message needs to be loud and clear and not get lost among convoluted comments and explanations. James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner at the National Theatre is one of those productions.

James Baldwin’s play, taking place in an African-American community in Harlem after World War II, addresses questions of god, love, desire, gossip, human weakness, poverty, music and the shadow of racial prejudice in the early 1950s. It could have been dry, confusing, overambitious. Instead, as directed by Rufus Norris in an exquisite production, it’s effortlessly poignant. It’s life, not as we know it, but as some people did, and it cuts like a knife. Continue reading