sat 19/10/2019

I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky, Theatre Royal Stratford East | reviews, news & interviews

I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky, Theatre Royal Stratford East

I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky, Theatre Royal Stratford East

Seven young performers give their all to John Adams's ferocious LA earthquake music drama

Stewart Charlesworth's closety cop arrests Leon Lopez's Dewain while Leila (Cynthia Erivo), David (Jason Denton) and Tiffany (Natasha J Barnes) look onRobert Day
John Adams thinks his and poet June Jordan's fantasia on love in a time of earthquake flopped at its 1995 Berkeley premiere for two main reasons. The characters - three blacks, two whites, a Hispanic and an Asian - were deemed too self-consciously multiculti: odd when America knew that was just how LA was then, even more so than Stratford East today (for once, the audience reflected the cast in this co-production with the Barbican). And Adams was shocked to find the pop and classical worlds so rigidly defensive. I've spoken to plenty of folk who hate the piece, trapped as they are behind the barriers its 24 vernacular numbers try to break down. Yet it seemed no problem for anyone in the theatre last night, chiefly because the ensemble of seven brilliant young singer-actors was totally on top of their tricky music. They'll never have to master anything as complex again, so they have every reason to be proud.


I absolutely loved it - would definitely see it again. I have told all my friends and colleagues to buy a ticket NOW!

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The Observer, Kate Kellaway


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