Photo credit: http://www.corbisimages.com/stock-photo/rights-managed/42-33345217/uk-errol-johns-moon-on-a-rainbow
Cut and pasted from the National Theatre Website:
Moon on a Rainbow Shawl by Errol John
For the teeming populace of Old Mack’s cacophonous yard in Port of Spain, Trinidad, it’s a cheek by jowl existence lived out on a sweltering public stage. Snatches of calypso compete with hymn tunes, drums and street cries as neighbours drink, brawl, pass judgment, make love, look out for each other and crave a better life. But Ephraim is no dreamer and nothing, not even the seductive Rosa, is going to stop him escaping his dead-end job for a fresh start in England.
Set as returning troops from the Second World War fill the town with their raucous celebrations, Errol John’s Moon on a Rainbow Shawl, written in 1953, depicts a vibrant, cosmopolitan world that is as harsh as it is filled with colour and warmth.
This closed on Saturday 9 June. I saw it much earlier in the run and, although I had been looking forward to it, I was disappointed by the play. I was not in the least bit inspired to write about it. I saw it for the second and final time on Friday 8 June.
This, as per usual, is a very personal reaction to the play.
I thought the acting across the whole of the ensemble cast was OUTSTANDING, and I wanted to mention in particular Martina Laird playing Sophia Adams.
However, I had a real issue with the play. I was not at all sure why the National Theatre had chosen to stage this particular play now.
I found the portrayal of Black men in the play deeply disturbing and very depressing. They were all complete bastards and they did not have one single redeeming feature amongst them. There was a lot of violence perpetrated against the women by the men, some of it so brutal that it caused a sharp intake of breath across the whole of the audience. Whilst I am not at all saying that all men are perfect (far from it!), they are not as bad as this play portrays them to be and I just do not think this is a play I would take Black boys and young Black men to see, despite the outstanding acting.
To summarise, I am glad that this has now closed; I personally would never pay to see this play again ... roll on the RSC's Black Julius Caesar!