The musical ‘Blues in the Night’ was outstandingly captivating. From beginning to end, the musical styling from the band and the characters on stage kept me and the audience in tuned to everything they were saying.
Through the marvellous style of Jazz and its original songs, it helped carry the story along with each character. The characters vary from their different back story but they all in the end craved for the same thing, to be freed from their current circumstance.
The start of the play was very strong. In an instant it drew me in just by the smooth sound of the instruments. The introductions to the characters on the stage were done in a way that would have you thinking you’re back in the good old age of Jazz and Blues.
The set in its simplicity carried the story and the movement of the characters well. There were times throughout the play were I possibly couldn’t look away and that was because of one character, not taking away from the others, but this particular character had me amazed.
‘The Lady’ played by Sharon D Clarke.
Her comedic storytelling and her mind-blowing voice were one of the many highlights for me within this play. Her portrayal of someone who was once on top of the Jazz scene and who also believes her time is not yet up, she will be back on top.
Much like many adults with years of life experiences her character at the start gave us some insight into the other ladies staying at the hotel in which the play is centred around. I thoroughly enjoyed what Clarke did with this character. Aside from the comedic aspects, the emotional element was there as well.
‘The Girl’ played by Gemma Sutton was very refreshing to watch. In the beginning, she started as this hopeful open-minded girl looking for love and in search of her place in the world and throughout the play we get to see her evolution.
Just like Sharon D Clarke, she expressed her character’s story through the songs beautifully. The countless emotions that were done when singing these songs that Sutton conveyed were spectacular.
We get to see the hopeful curiosity from the start and then the broken loss of hope halfway through the end of the play.
The sense of humanity and the ups and downs that life can sometimes bring and having it told through timeless classics was done brilliantly especially with the character of The Girl. Being young and venturing off in hopes of finding happiness is a part of life as it is a part of growing up.
Then we have ‘The Woman’ played by Debbie Kurup. This character I could say represented the time when all is lost and there might not be a way out.
It was clear with the songs that were sung that the character of the woman lived a prestigious life of luxury. When that was taken away along with everyone that came with it, it became clear that her only means of survival was selling her most valuable things in exchange for drugs.
Along it seemed like she was giving up on life. Without her wealth the elements of a strong woman were still there. She knew what she wanted and she wasn’t afraid to let that show especially with one of the upbeat songs.
All of the women that played these diverse characters with different stories were outstanding. They gave me and everyone in attendance a clear insight into the world of the characters with the songs that they sang.
‘The Man’ played by Clive Rowe – this character was very interesting. He came across as a very suspicious person and also someone who thinks way too much of himself. As a character, he gave off the vibe of being what every woman needs in a man.
Rowe’s voice in every song he sings was like walking back in time to the era of Jazz and Blues. His suave and sometimes odd demeanour as the character was interesting to watch especially in the interaction with the ladies.
There were moments that the Man had with the Woman where I would call him an enabler with him supplying her with what I can only assume to be drugs. That doesn’t take away from the fact that just like the stories of the ladies, he had a story of his own.
Although the character came across with questionable actions it was clear to see that he wanted what the ladies wanted, something or someone that will change his life for the better.
Overall I would say that Blues in the Night was extremely enjoyable and I would most definitely recommend everyone to go and see it. The music was spectacular and the actors were remarkable in their portrayal of the characters.
You would be walking out of the Kiln Theatre pleased and happy that you took the time to see this masterpiece, I know I was.
Photo by Matt Humphrey via Kiln Theatre