The Colour Purple July 2013

If you have read the book, you’ll know that it is one that’s hard to forget.

Published in 1982, Alice Walker managed to channel the racism and sexism struggles of a whole generation through the life story of one woman, Celie.

For this great feat, Walker was famously awarded the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

The musical adaptation has already made a splash on Broadway in 2007. Produced by Oprah Winfrey, American Idol star Fantasia gave an award winning performance as Celie.

The Colour Purple July 2013

At the European premiere of the musical however, I am left a little disappointed.

Having read the book, the musical becomes a brilliant and moving celebration of the story as memorable moments are played and out in front of you.

If you have not read the book though, I’d say you need to tick that off your list before heading to see the musical.

Massive chunks of the plot are missed out, and incredibly weighty incidents of rape, abuse and racism that make you bond with the characters in the book are light heartedly brushed over on stage.

With all the important bits missing, the historical and cultural context of the story is lost as you try to keep up with what must simply come across as one woman’s dramatic life; a scary thought for such a significant story.

The Colour Purple July 2013

This is not to say you won’t be massively entertained as Cynthia Erivo carries the whole play, belting her heart out as main character.

Having already toured the UK in the lead role in Sister Act there is no doubt we will soon be hearing a lot more about Cynthia Erivo.

When questioned about what her next role will be, Erivo told she couldn’t say or she’d get in trouble, and speaking to The British Blacklist told them:

I can’t say, I’m not allowed. But there is something.

It must be something big! Whatever it is, I’m sure whatever Erivo does from now on will not go unnoticed.

The Colour Purple July 2013

Both director John Doyle and Menier Chocolate Factory have a history of producing plays that transfer to West End and Broadway, so the standing ovations I witnessed are bound to be repeated throughout the run of The Color Purple.

The Color Purple is showing at Menier Chocolate Factory until 14 September.

The Colour Purple July 2013