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The Fellowship- play review

Depicting an ever-relevant drama surrounding the injustices of race, Roy Williams' writing of The Fellowship is brought to the stage in its world premiere at Hampstead Theatre. Following the lives of Dawn (Cherrelle Skeete) and Marcia (Suzette Llewellyn) Adams- two sisters, and a seemingly inseparably bonded pair- each battle their own travesties where relationships are the heart of it all. Tensions rise and conversations become explosive, but not without a hint of Take That.

An expanse of stairs sweep across the stage in a design by Libby Watson, which immediately provide an interesting scape for dramatic performance. The highlight of the set, however, are the large illuminated rings that mimic 'Alexa', and generate creative and memorable moments when used to break up the script, adding some lighthearted musical influence to what can otherwise sometimes appear fraught.

While Marcia navigates the downfall of her highly-regarded career after having an affair with a politician, Dawn is caring for their dying mother and grieving the loss of her son, attempting to understand the choices of the one she has remaining. Stepping into the main role, with a significant lack of rehearsal time, Cherrelle does an excellent job of embodying her character. Despite using the script at times, this rarely distracted from her skilful delivery, particularly notable in partnership with Suzette, where they both bounce off each other to fabricate a capricious yet connected dynamic between them.

Tony- the partner of Dawn, performed by Trevor Laird- is impartial to sharing his passionate views on race, which are accustomed to the theme running through the show. As the sisters are children of the Windrush generation, their 1980s London childhood was filled with activism, that they are keen to keep fuelling. Ethan Hazard plays Jermaine, Dawn's son, who is deciphering his love for Simone (Rosie Day): he comes across as strong-willed, much like his mother, and the interpretation of her sassy personality fits well in conjunction with this. Additionally, Sylvia/ PC Spencer is played by Yasmin Mwanza. Together, the casting couldn't be better, as they each nail the tone and mannerisms destined for their characters, and reflect upon the culture they are representing.

The script, in correlation with Paulette Randall's direction, encompasses the perfect balance of seriousness in discussion and comedic, witty or upbeat engagements between characters. Although seeming a little lost at times, it flows back in direction shortly, and concludes whilst leaving fragments open for interpretation. This contemporary take allows for a timeless piece of importance in The Fellowship, displaying a thoughtful and thorough commentary throughout.


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