The Amen Corner at the National Theatre through August 14th

The Amen Corner - Marianne Jean-Baptiste

I would go to see the Amen Corner merely for the accompanying music by the London Community Gospel Choir.  But the reviews have been stellar for the acting in James Baldwin’s play from 1965.  These include a great review from There Ought To Be Clowns.

Reader, I ovated. It is a rare occasion indeed that I actually give a standing ovation, more often than not I think about it and don’t do it but just occasionally, one bears witness to something in a theatre that is just irresistibly, incandescently amazing that the only response is to get on one’s feet. For me, it was Marianne Jean-Baptiste’s simply extraordinary performance as Sister Margaret Alexander that beats powerfully at the heart of The Amen Corner, a revival of a 1965 American play by James Baldwin, that fills the Olivier Theatre with the glorious sound of the London Community Gospel Choir.”

From the National As the gospel singing soars, Sister Margaret, uncompromising pastor of her Harlem church, has a congregation already in revolt against her hardline leadership. Their resentment escalates with the return of her absentee husband, a trombone-playing sinner, and the wayward conduct of her son. Charges of hypocrisy hang in the air and Margaret’s devout world looks perilously close to falling apart. Beautifully expressed through the rousing beat of the gospel choir, the community’s sense of love, grief and spiritual survival will be given full voice in the National’s production of James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner (1965). Their church may be humble but their lungs are full with fervour.”

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