A UK review in [Exactly] 250 Words: "Freeman"

Photo: Richard Kiely

Photo: Richard Kiely

Harriet Wilson

  • United Kingdom Contributing Critic

Currently playing at London’s Pleasance Theatre, Freeman is a passionate, emotive and high-energy production which uses an impressive range of theatrical modes to tell interweaving stories about the lives of people of colour through the years.

There are lots of brutal moments within this performance, but they are delivered skilfully and with passion. The whole production throbs with anger, drawn from the emotive themes of systemic racism and mental health (and how the two are intrinsically linked). It would be difficult to not become emotionally engaged with (and angry for) the people whose true stories are told within this play.

It is not only these stories which make the production so impressive, but also the way in which they are told. Freeman draws shadow puppetry, physical theatre and song into its high-energy narrative, and this works perfectly to allow scope for the exploration of themes which are complex and emotional. Similarly, the interweaving of stories which span not just years but also countries invites us to see ‘the bigger picture', and makes a strong point about how far society still has to go.

Freeman is performed by a cast of only six, yet the stage of the Pleasance is bursting with life from start to finish. Every cast member gives a fantastically strong, soulful performance.

When I saw Freeman, it received a standing ovation which I can only say that it thoroughly deserved. I would urge anybody to see this play before its run ends on the 21st October 2018.