Marching for Necie

8pB Theatre

theSpace on the Mile

From 12 August 2015 to 15 August 2015

Rating: ***

Review by Keith Mckenna

Marching for Necie was inspired by the recent reports of police violence against black people in places like Ferguson in the USA. That brutality led them to look at the American Civil Rights struggle in Jackson Mississippi, and the film The Help.

This ambitious production focuses on the relationship of a group of sisters to the black maid Necie (Lulu Ogununga) who intends to join a civil rights march after watching the news of the 1963 Washington March for Jobs and Freedom led by Martin Luther King.

In particular, one of the sisters, Annie-Mae (Chloe Anspak), does not believe there should be any difference in the treatment of white people and those of colour. She is determined that she will stand by Necie at a time when white racists are not slow to punish any who follow the example of Martin Luther King.

The other characters range in belief, from those nervously recognising the need for social change to the powerful male husband of one of the sisters who is a militant segregationist and secret member of the Klu Klux Klan.

The dialogue is sensitive and believable. The cast, in particular the women actors, give confident, solid performances. It was only when I spoke to them after the show that I realised they were an English rather than an American cast.

At a certain point in the play, Necie steps forward to say directly to the audience what is in effect the message of the show: "If there were more Annie-Maes then there would be less Medgar Evers, less Michael Browns..."

And to that list were added the names of many others.