Award-Winning Paul Robeson Play Comes To Richmond – Via London And New York
Thursday, Mar 12, 2015
Call Mr Robeson, an award-winning play that received a standing ovation at New York’s Carnegie Hall and ran with great acclaim in London’s West End, is to be performed at The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond on Saturday 28 March at 7.30pm as part of a UK Spring tour.
It depicts the rollercoaster life of Paul Robeson (1898-1976) – the great and famous actor, singer and civil rights campaigner. When he got too radical and outspoken for the establishment’s liking, he was branded a traitor to his country, was harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel.
Written and performed by Liverpool-based playwright Tayo Aluko with piano accompaniment by renowned Leeds pianist Nicki Allan, the play highlights Robeson’s pioneering and heroic political activism as well as his music. It features O’l Man River and other famous songs, much fiery oratory, and a defiant testimony to the Senate House Un-American Activities Committee.
Call Mr Robeson was chosen by The Guardian’s theatre critic Michael Billington as his top pick for things to see in London in January 2011 and during Autumn 2014, it enjoyed a 4-week residency at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden, where BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends presenter Clive Anderson saw it and later described it as one of the most memorable plays he had seen.
As part of its current tour, it has sold out several established theatres around the UK, including the Lowry Studio, Belgrade Coventry, Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre, The Bolton Octagon, and Liverpool's Everyman Theatre. All seventeen performances of his recent tour of New Zealand and Australia also completely sold out.
Awards for Call Mr Robeson include Best Musical Performance at the Atlantic Fringe in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada; Best Solo Show at the Stratford-upon-Avon Fringe and the Argus Angel Award for Artistic Excellence and the Best Male Performer Award at the Brighton Fringe.
Speaking about the play, Tayo Aluko said: “Paul Robeson remains known as one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century, but the other side of his life - his activism, proves time and again to be very fascinating to audiences worldwide, and very relevant today.”