Caroline or Change Open Rehearsal

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Caroline or Change Open Rehearsal

As soon as I heard there was an opportunity to sit in on a session of rehearsals for the Olivier Award Winning Caroline Or Change, I knew I couldn’t miss out. I have always been inspired by the soul and blues influence in the show’s music and have been excited to learn of its transfer to London’s West End at the Playhouse Theatre from 20th November, starring Sharon D. Clarke reprising her role as Caroline.

Set in Louisiana, 1963, in the midst of the Civil Rights movement and the destruction of a confederate statue, Caroline, Or Change tells the story of Caroline Thibideaux and her time as an African-American maid to a Jewish family. It sees Caroline’s friendship with the family’s eight year old son, Noah, (shared by Isaac Forward, Aaron Gelkoff and Jack Meredith) and how their friendship is tested through her financial problems, whilst having to provide for her children back at home.

We were treated with excerpts from Act One, including segments from ‘Washer/Dryer’ and ‘Moon Change’. I was instantly captivated by Sharon’s rich vocal tones and connection to her character. I also enjoyed the tight and well-blended harmonies from Dujonna Gift-Simms, Keisha Amponsa-Banson and Tanisha Spring as the Radio. Ako Mitchell plays The Dryer who has a raw soulful voice and there’s a distinguished bubbly presence from Me’Sha Bryan, who plays The Washer.

Caroline or Change cast photoWe were then given short background information about the later segment, in which we see Caroline’s friend, Dotty played by Naana Agyei-Ampadu and The Moon, played by Angela M. Caeser who has an enchantingly soulful classical voice. I was slightly lost at this point as it was a very quick turnaround, though I very much enjoyed the strong vocal abilities from every cast member. Following on from this, a section from Act Two was introduced to us which showcased the Jewish family for which Caroline works and the powerful song ‘I Hate the Bus’ in which Abiona Omonua (who plays Caroline’s daughter, Emmie) sang so emotively well. Other notable performances include Teddy Kemper as Mr Stopnick and Alastair Brookshaw as Stuart.

I appreciated being given the time to experience the performance this talented cast gave. I could tell a sense of joy and commitment to the piece from the cast and creatives and that this story is still very relevant in today’s forever changing political times. Caroline, or Change is only on for a limited season so grab your tickets as soon as you get the chance. I for one am very much looking forward to seeing the production in its full form.

Write by Faye Wheeler

Tickets for Caroline or Change and more information on the show could be found here. 

If you like this write up you might also like my reviews of The Girl From The North Country and Dreamgirls. 

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