Discover what critics have had to say about this revival of Alfred Fagon’s play at the Hampstead Theatre.

(c)Shaun Webb

The Telegraph: *** “This deserved revival of Alfred Fagon’s pioneering play shows his remarkable way with words, but the characterisation is too flimsy.”

Exeunt Magazine: “encountering this unduly neglected play in this commendable production feels like a small miracle in its own right. It will most likely send you to Fagon’s other works and make you wish for a post-pandemic theatre with many more revivals of this kind.”

The Guardian: *** “But the actors bring immense conviction and charm to their parts and the drama leaves us with many points of provocation, whatever its weaker points. If this is Fagon’s legacy, we need more of it.”

Evening Standard: *** “Its profanity, frankness and gonzo sensibility must have been shocking. Walton’s production ensures you get a sense of that today.”

A Younger Theatre:**** “At times, the production may feel gratuitous in it’s surrealism or perhaps even problematic in its evocations… but that’s simply part of the ride. Theatre is back, and The Death of a Black Man proves it’s taking no prisoners.”

The Arts Desk: **** “This is intelligent theatre with an unflinching vision; it’s part of its power that it will not leave you sitting comfortably. All the characters take actions that you condemn as an onlooker. Yet you are forced, too, to think about what has been done to them by white society’s sexualisation of black culture and the fetishisation of its more “exotic” aspects, at the same time as it has consigned black people to the lowest rungs of employment and social status.”

City AM: “Difficult, uncomfortable and still able to shock after all these years, it’s heartening to know that Fagon’s work is still remembered, unlike so many other black men who died too young.”

The Independent: **** “Hampstead Theatre kicks off its new season with a timely, seriously challenging revival of a rarity from its own back-catalogue.”

WhatsOnStage: ***** “The pressure inside the theatre is excruciating as the enormity of what Shakie and Stumpie are doing to Jackie is brutally hammered home. Forty-six years on from its debut in Hampstead, this is an urgent and brilliant production.”

iNews: *** “Yet, the writing’s energy and vision are unmistakably radical, and Walton’s production, on a set by Simon Kenny that combines 70s chic with a cricket scoreboard, is slick and tautly acted. It’s a provocative, relevant revival – and a sharp reminder of a whole canon of black work long overdue for rediscovery.”

Broadway World: ** “Fagon’s writing is imaginative and really opens your mind to the possibilities of exciting dramatic action, but the characterisation is all over the place. Lacking in a sense of grounding, despite hardworking performances by the performers, the choices they make feel at odds with the script – meaning the play never really gets off its feet.”

The Death of a Black Man continues to play at the Hampstead Theatre until the 10th July.


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