Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Lyttelton Theatre, National
Chicago, 1927. In a recording studio on the city’s South Side, a battle of wills is raging. Ma Rainey, Mother of the Blues, uses every trick in the book to fight her record producers for control of her music.
Hardened by years of ill-treatment and bad deals, she’s determined that ‘Black Bottom’, the song that bears her name, will be recorded her way. But Levee, the band’s swaggering young trumpet player, plans to catapult the band into the jazz age. His ambition puts them all in danger.
Inspired by the real-life Blues legend and infused with her music, August Wilson’s play speaks powerfully of a struggle for self-determination against overwhelming odds. Sharon D Clarke plays Ma Rainey.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Reviews
"Good play, good jazz, great acting. Hits all the right notes"
"A pitch-perfect, superbly acted production’"
"Lively, truthful, beautifully performed"
"Vital drama gloriously realised in Dominic Cooke’s lively production"
"Dominic Cooke’s excellent revival. August Wilson's blues still electrify in this landmark play"
"Superlative performances. A tremendous piece of writing. Superb"
"A marvellous revival. Exemplary and revelatory. Performances to die for"