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Sharon D Clarke sings the blues in the sensational Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, a powerfully told story of prejudice and power in 1920s America from the pen of August Wilson.

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is at the to May, 2016Review first published in  Feb 2016

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is set in a Chicago recording studio where the diva is expected to lay down her latest album. The boys in the band arrive first and are shown to the basement rehearsal room where they bicker, josh with each other, and enjoy the sort of intimate friendship that comes from working more than 20 years together.

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But August Wilson’s engaging stage play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which has just opened at the National Theatre, is less to do with this redoubtable woman and more to do with an angry, embittered young man whose traumatic childhood of bigotry and prejudice defines his future.

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Theatre Review: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Pride Magazine

August Wilson’s classic play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is currently enjoying its run at the National Theatre . Since opening at the end of January it has received so we are pleased to offer a reader exclusive, which allows you to book top price seats for £15 or a price of £10 for second price seats.*

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BWW Review: MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM at 1st Stage

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom takes a refreshing perspective on this historical, yet still poignant issue- focussing on the internal struggle of subjugated black Americans trying to reconcile their identity with their circumstances. The title character, played by Sharon D Clarke (TV credits include Holby City, Eastenders and with extensive theatre credits including Everyman, 50 Years on Stage, The Amen Corner) is incredibly convincing as the first Madame of blues. But the real story happens downstairs. In the band room among the drinking, smoking and expected chatter of supporting band, Cutler (Clint Dyer), Slow Dragg (Giles Terera), Toledo (Lucian Msamaati) and Levee (O-T Fagbenie).

Race Issues Give 'Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom' the Blues - Guardian Liberty Voice

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Set in Chicago in 1927, Ma Rainey is regarded the mother of the blues but bears emotional scars from the bad treatment she has received from the music industry. In an attempt to gain artistic control, she is determined that her song Black Bottom will be recorded exactly the way she wants it to. Meanwhile, Rainey’s ambitious young trumpet player sets his sight on catapulting the band into the burgeoning jazz scene, however his hasty actions puts the entire band in danger. Starring actress and vocal powerhouse Sharon D Clarke as Ma Rainey, audiences can expect a strong selection of emotive jazz and blues music alongside an inspiring message of self-determination against the odds.