The Anvil Theatre
CALL MR. ROBESON written and performed by Tayo Aluka

Dates and Venue February 25 – 28 at 8pm & Sunday at 2pm, February 28, 2016 | The Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster Theatre

Director and Dramaturge Olusola Oyeleye Designer and Assistant Director Phil Newman Music Accompiment Bogdan Dulu

Reviewer Karen Fitzgibbon

Robeson is in-your-face as he stands up for the black race with honour and dignity. Tayo Aluka’s portrayal of Paul Robeson is one with great emotion and vocal talent.

Robeson shows the world that a solitary man can make a difference in this indifferent world. His life is that of a radical civil rights activist, singer and actor. Aluka impresses us with his rich baritone voice when he sings "Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen." It is Robeson who sets the foundation for future civil rights activists. He existed before Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and although his name is not as well known; he is a man who is a head of his time He has the guts and determination to stand up for what he believes in.

Many of us would like to put a stop to racism but many of us do not feel that we have the strength required to take on such risks on our own. Well, yes we do and yes we should.

The stage is simply designed with boxes covered with flags and books as Robeson travels from country to country. It must have been so difficult when he finally loses his right to travel freely. The US takes his passport and persecutes him like a traitor and he spins out of control into despair. It is poignant when he cannot act or sing in his own country. There is something greatly wrong with society when a man loses his freedom because he tries to develop an awareness of the strife of his people.

Akuka’s pulls us into the mind of raging melancholia with great acting and sensitivity. It is a performance well received.

© 2016 Karen Fitzgibbon