Theatre Royal Bath / The Park
directed by Laurence Boswell
One of America’s greatest living playwrights, Lynn Nottage’s multi-award-winning play brims with wonderful characters, set in 1905 in New York City where Esther, a black seamstress, sews exquisite lingerie for clients who range from wealthy white patrons to prostitutes. She’s saved enough to allow her to dream of one day opening a beauty salon for black women, and at 35 years old, longs for a husband and a future. When she begins to receive beautiful letters from a lonesome Caribbean man who is working on the Panama Canal, it looks like life may be about to take a different course.
Inspired by the ethnic and musical maelstrom of turn-of-the-century NYC, the original music ranged from ragtime and blues to klezmer and grand opera.
The production attracted 4 and 5-star reviews across the board:
★★★★★ ‘a first-rate production…shows the play’s power and subtlety… Jon Nicholls’s sound design steers through the variety of this new New York, with klezmer and rag and blues’ (Observer)
★★★★★ ‘a gem…finely wrought, exquisitely played’ (WhatsOnStage)
★★★★★ ‘a serious delight’ (Independent)
★★★★ ‘Thoroughly recommended…too good to miss’ (Telegraph)
★★★★ ‘a tender, illuminating play…steady, evocative’ (Times)
★★★★ ‘Nottage’s writing is as delicate as the lace undergarments Esther sews’ (Guardian)
★★★★ Mail ON Sunday