Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Downtown Paradise

Wales Fargo , The Riverfront Newport , September-30-14
Downtown Paradise  by Wales Fargo

The studio at the Riverfront lent itself well to this powerful drama penned by Mark Jenkins and tightly directed by Michael Kelligan.

Based on true events, Catriona James and Habib Nasib Nader took on two complex and demanding roles of controversial Jewish lawyer, Rachel Bloom and jailed Black Panther leader, James Wilson.

Intimate and almost suffocating at times, a sparse set credibly intimated the 1970s prison cell in which Wilson had initially been incarcerated for a year, but was subsequently on trial for life. With professionalism firmly on the back boiler, Bloom called on her unhappy Jewish childhood to align her beliefs to those of the dangerously militant black rights leader, and in obsessively committing herself to securing his freedom, she also became personally involved with him.

In two mesmerising performances, hopefulness gradually turned to darkness and eventually despair as we witnessed the unravelling of two different sets of ideals.

With palpable chemistry, the two characters breathtakingly demonstrated the themes of privilege versus inequality, and gradually the hopelessness of the situation became as clear as it was tragic.

Timeless, thought provoking and relevant, this Welsh Fargo Stage Company production
Review by Jackie Davis

Reviewed by: Jackie Davis

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