Live On Stage Stage

Rockets And Blue Light

Rockets And Blue Light
23 September 2021
National Theatre
4.5 out of 5.0 stars

Rockets & Blue Lights is a haunting production of a new play, exploring abolitionist narratives and modern racism. Juxtaposing 1840s London, in which Lucy and Thomas try to come to terms with their freedom as well as lingering repercussions of the widespread slave trade, with today’s London, in which a film about Victorian artist Turner leaves the young actress Lou haunted by his painting The Slave Ship.

Both stories are beautifully interwoven, asking poignant questions about the still-present after-effects of slavery, ingrained societal racism, and the importance of seeing the stories and perspectives of people of colour on this subject. Often utilised as a spectacle for white viewers, this play reframes the suffering of Black people as an important part of their stories and heritage not to be used for mere entertainment. Several stories and timelines effortlessly weave an emotionally touching, deeper story of the British history of the slave trade and its legacy.

This play feels poignant and meaningful in a very timely manner, touching on still-present racism and the prevalence of framing Black narratives from a white perspective. Harrowing and beautiful all at once, Rockets & Blue Lights feels bigger than its parts and an important step towards giving a voice to those often deprived of agency.

Absolutely fantastic production of a radical and much needed play.

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