Theatre Review - Blue

June Carryl and John Colella in Blue [Laurie Sparham]

JUNE Carryl’s hard-hitting drama explores systemic racism in the US police force and serves as a stark warning about similar failings within the Metropolitan Police who have been criticised for disproportionately using stop and search powers on black people.

Blue takes place in a police interview room. Los Angeles Police Detective LaRhonda Parker (Carryl) enters laughing, although it sounds forced. She’s there to interview her white colleague, police veteran Boyd Sully (John Colella).

He’s her husband’s ex-partner and a family friend. She’s interrogating him about having shot and killed an unarmed black man.

It transpires that Sully’s victim served in Afghanistan and suffered from PTSD. Parker also reveals that the shooting was not as cut and dried as Sully has tried to present. He did not turn on his body camera and his reasons for detaining the man at a traffic stop are dubious.

Under Parker’s questioning Sully displays disturbing attitudes about race, and an overblown sense of righteousness. His 29 years’ service has made him complacent about his authority.

Parker’s trump card is a photograph that shows Sully participated in the January 6 Capitol riots.

Blue is simply staged with a table and chairs centre stage. On the back wall is a clock, a water dispenser to the side, and a mirror reflecting the audience.

The performances are utterly focused and the tension never lets up in Michael Matthews’ well-paced production.

Hugely topical, this compelling 60-minute drama deserves full houses every night.

Formerly known as the Actors’ Centre, the 100-seat Seven Dials Playhouse is in the heart of theatreland and offers tickets for as little as £15. 


Until March 30

Originally pblished by Westminster Extra