STAGE REVIEW: Black Men Walking @ Northern Stage, Newcastle (15.02.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Tristram Kenton

Out on the wily, windy moors three black men in the upper middle bit of middle aged walk together, heading for the border of their own land (Yorkshire) on a quest for a safe space of their own; a place where race, family and the rough and tumble of life can be put aside if only for a day. As clouds and rain press in to darken both vision and mood alike, a wraith-like spectre pursues them across the hills; a vision of Blackness and femininity they can’t escape.

Written by the rapper Testament, Black Men Walking sees us sympathising with the three men who remember the ‘no blacks, no dogs’ days seemingly left behind in their childhoods, people who still feel queasy in the abdomen upon encountering the police, yet able to enjoy life in modern Britain superficially free of casual racism.

Shattering this perception is the totemic apparition by their side – an African Goddess of the imagination later made real as a young and confident black girl, the kind the walking trio imagine they have cleared a path for only to discover the blistering Brexit-fuelled racism she faces.

Pointing the finger squarely at a generation who abandoned the fight against repression in favour of comfort and assimilation, this whip-smart, atmospheric – and very funny – play confronts us all with the directive to act now to fight injustice in our own time, or face being on the receiving end of a pointed finger from the next generation.

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