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Review: Blue at Seven Dials Playhouse

Review by Olivia Ruggiero

A searing new play penned by June Carryl has hit the London stage with force. The truth really does hurt and in Carryl’s new play there are no bars held. “Blue” surrounds the events of late 2020 and early 2021 in America – a world where Black Lives Matter vs Blue Lives Matter was coming to a head and this astounding piece of theatre has you on the edge of your seat as the drama unfolds before your eyes.

June Carryl (as Parker) and John Colella (as Sully) deliver a masterclass in acting. Every line is played deliberately, with truth at the heart of every word. I cannot articulate the emotional wrought that the audience is put through – in fact my favourite part of the play is listening to the audience breathe or stop breathing or gasp or audibly react when something so intense or volatile happens. It’s a testament not only to Carryl’s writing but the expertise of these actors – that they are able to deliver something so powerful it facilitates such an extreme reaction from their captive audience. 

What is even more astounding is Carryl’s ability to inject humour into a subject matter that is far from “light”. The witty quips about voting for Obama or reminiscing about fishing trips gone awry are what make the drama of this narrative really hit home. The evening goes by in the blink of an eye – an hour that floods past, as you are gripped by the brilliance on display here. 

The Seven Dials Playhouse provides the perfect setting, as the audience is immersed in the tiny interrogation room that has been set up, with a rusty “two-way” mirror, a clock on the wall, a small water dispenser tucked away in the corner, and table that creates considerable space between the two players. It’s simple but incredibly effective. There’s no lighting except the obstruse fluorescents that bleed into the audience willing them to be part of the action. 

I left the theatre with a million questions buzzing in my head about the world we live in, what we endured as a society during the turmoil of early 2021, how well you can really know someone and what their intentions are. Blue is a piece of art that stays with you, it grips you and leaves an everlasting imprint on you – and that is truly masterful. It’s the type of theatre the world needs, it’s the type of work that needs creating and it’s a piece that deserves more than anything to be seen. 

I truly hope that Blue goes on to have the success that it wants, and I believe needs. So rarely am I left wanting more out of a play, or to return to see it again – but Blue is one of those incredibly rare occurrences. I am deeply grateful and humbled that it has brought to a London audience, and I would encourage everyone to see it while you can. Bravo to the whole team. A masterpiece and classic in the making.  

Image Supplied


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