Red Velvet OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • EW

  • TM

  • NEW YORK THEATER

  • TIME OUT

Opening Night:
March 25, 2014
Closing:
April 20, 2014

Theater: St. Ann's Warehouse / 38 Water Street, New York, NY,

Synopsis: 

Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, London, 1833. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has collapsed on stage while playing Othello. Ira Aldridge, a young black American actor, has been asked to take over the role. But as the public riots in the streets over the abolition of the Slavery Act, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theater? Adrian Lester gives a mesmerizing, must-see performance in Red Velvet — a heartbreaking new drama that is both “fiery and funny in equal measure” (Time Out London). The play received five and four star reviews from every major London publication during its sold-out World Premiere in 2012, and has completely sold out its return engagement at the Tricycle this winter.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Red Velvet

    Grandeur Under Siege | ‘Red Velvet’ Recalls One Shocked London Audience

    Ben Brantley

    April 1, 2014: Shock waves rarely travel across centuries. But at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, where Lolita Chakrabarti’s Red Velvet opened on Monday night, you can experience firsthand what it must have felt like to be part of one seriously rattled London theater audience in 1833. This uncanny adventure in time exploration comes courtesy of Adrian Lester, the magnificent star of Red Velvet, which debuted to wide acclaim in 2012 at the Tricycle Theater in London. Since the 1990s, Mr. Lester has created a rich and varied gallery of Shakespeare characters, ranging from Rosalind in As You Like It to the title heroes of Henry V and Hamlet.

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  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF Red Velvet

    STAGE REVIEW Red Velvet (2014)

    Joe McGovern

    April 1, 2014: Naturalism is a hot potato in Red Velvet, a new U.K. Import about the remarkable life of Ira Aldridge. Aldridge, portrayed with intensity and alacrity by the British actor Adrian Lester, was a black American who emigrated to London in the 1820s and caused a sensation in 1833 when he stepped into a prestigious London production of Othello. The play, written with occasional Kushneresque flourishes by Lester's wife, Lolita Chakrabarti, examines the merits and risks of artistic boundary-pushing and takes a fresh look at the age old question of how real is, in fact, too real. (The show runs through April 20 at Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse.)

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Red Velvet

    Red Velvet

    Zachary Stewart

    March 31, 2014: In 1833, American actor Ira Aldridge became the first black man to play Othello at London's Covent Garden. Bizarre as it seems today, the idea of an actual black actor (as opposed to a white actor in blackface) playing a black character was considered radical. This was also a year when the British public was deeply divided over legislation to abolish slavery in the Empire. Lolita Chakrabarti's Red Velvet captures the drama and angst (on stage and off) surrounding Aldridge's groundbreaking performance. Originally produced at London's Tricycle Theatre, Red Velvet is now making its American premiere at St. Ann's Warehouse. It's an endlessly fascinating story that everyone should know.

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  • NEW YORK THEATER REVIEW OF Red Velvet

    Red Velvet Review: Adrian Lester as First Great Black Shakespearean Actor

    Jonathan Mandell

    March 31, 2014: When Ira Aldridge played Othello in London, they were still debating whether it was a good thing to end slavery in the British colonies. Aldridge is the real-life African-American actor portrayed by Adrian Lester in Red Velvet, the fascinating play written by Lester’s wife Lolita Chakrabarti in a production by London’s exquisite Tricycle Theatre now opened at St. Ann’s Warehouse through April 20th. It manages not just to dramatize a little-known 19th century figure but provide insight into the art of acting and of theater. Aldridge was a native New Yorker who left the United States as a teenager in order to pursue a career on stage, becoming a successful actor throughout Europe, specializing in Shakespearean roles.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Red Velvet

    April 1, 2014:

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