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Review: This Kind of Black at HOME ‘chronicles the black Mancunian masculine experience’

Reece Williams captivates audiences in This Kind of Black (Requiem for Black Boys) at HOME Theatre, offering an intimate exploration of the Black Mancunian experience through powerful poetry and engaging performance.

This week at HOME Theatre a unique one-man show is taking place.

This Kind of Black (Requiem for Black Boys) is a part of HOME’s Theatre 2 Autumn 2023 Season and is definitely worth a watch while you can.

This Kind of Black

Writer and performer Reece Williams began by writing his debut collection of poems around four years ago, which should be available in print next year.

However, by staging the poems in a live performance he allows audiences to interact with his work on another level, thus This Kind of Black (Requiem for Black Boys) came into existence.

Williams is the solo artist within the piece, performing his own work with such deliverance and engagement with the audience that demonstrates his poems were written to be performed.

Growing up in Manchester

The subject matter dives into details of his life growing up in and around the Greater Manchester area, specifically Moss Side and its surroundings, unpacking the Black Mancunian masculine experience.

The performance is a real celebration of this community, depicting its strength, hardship, humour, and resilience.

Williams is absolutely brilliant in this performance. He carefully unfolds pieces of his poetry puzzles, permitting the audience to work things out for themselves from his clever clues in language.

He encouragingly invites the audience to get involved, and somehow makes the theatre with a maximum capacity of 132 people feel intimate and inclusive.

There are murmurs of agreement, or acknowledgement of shared experiences that come from the audience which adds to the effect of authenticity that Williams generates.

The Incredible HOME Theatre

Theatre 2 in HOME is a versatile black box space, which Williams and producer and director Matt Fenton make great use of.

There are projections used interchangeably on the back wall and across the stage floor to both set the scene and highlight the movements of Williams, which is choreographed by Courtney Hayles.

For example, the outline of an apartment floor-plan, hopscotch and playground games, as well as a moving road look as though they have been drawn on the ground with some kind of illuminating chalk, which is rather unique.

A further aspect of this set design that stands out is the use of projection that makes it look as though, with this same glowing chalk, the title of the performance is being written across the wall in real time.

Various lighting choices contribute to the effects of the words of the poetry, while sound and animation transforms you out of the black box and onto the streets of Moss Side.

This Kind of Black (Requiem for Black Boys) is being performed for a limited run at HOME Theatre this week until Saturday 18th November.

The run time is approximately one hour and ten minutes, with no interval.

Tickets for the Friday and Saturday shows are sold out, but if you are interested it may be worth getting into contact with HOME directly in case someone can no longer make it. Tickets are £15, concessions are available for £13.

More information on the show, booking, and HOME contact information can be found here.

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