Highgate's very own Withnail: Mr Merric Boyd and his supremely talented sister Jessica Boyd are currently starring in 'The White Witch' showing at the Chelsea Theatre, London, directed by Joseph Charles of Thee Black Swan theatre company.
Written by acclaimed Jamaican playwright Barry Reckord, who died in 2011, The White Witch is a play based on a true story of a young white woman who falls in love with a black man. Set in Jamaica at Rose Hall in the late 18th Century, The White Witch deals with fallout from their relationship from forced marriage to barbaric punishments which provoked communities and inspired anti-slavery sentiment and rebellion.
The White WItch is a tale of desire, witchcraft, patriarchy, imperialism and slavery wrapped up in an intensely delicious and powerful play which begs you to question society's bind upon your own morality and sexual code. Using Reckord's exemplar and imaginative skills as a wordsmith, the play tackles the mystery of witchcraft in the context of the Caribbean against the unforgiving setting of the transatlantic slave trade, its commercial viability and the plantation owners.
The drama revolves around the cruel and misogynistic plantation owner John Palmer, played by a successfully imposing and obstreperous Robert Maskell. Palmer's five estates, numerous slaves and malicious attitude makes him a hot target for usurpation. He marries the aristocratic Annie Palmer, in the hope of securing a legitimate white male heir in the midst of his own miscegenation with his slaves. However Annie the seducer's subterfuge, promiscuous attitude and uncanny ability to see the future have the slaves of Rose Hall whispering of witchcraft and even murder...
Jessica Elisa Boyd who plays Annie Palmer is absolutely marvellous in her portrayal as a multifaceted woman of means. In a spectacular exhibition of female-force Boyd, through Palmer, alternates between the laughing temptress, the doting wife, the wicked witch, the expectant mother, the murderous mistress and finally the suffragette philosopher. The audience is even treated to a beautiful violin solo in which she proves her talent in the arts is by far not limited to her acting.
Her brother Merric Boyd plays a British 18th century Doctor with intensely old-fashioned views on immorality and the female form. He is brought in by Palmer in a desperate attempt to subdue his utterly irrepressible wife by any means necessary. Mr Boyd's undeniable on-stage charisma, and old-fashioned imperial old-boy attitude constitutes a stellar performance not without humour.
Helena Dowling and Lavern Archer play the female slaves Chloe and Princess, in a brilliant representation of the innocence and experience of womanhood. Chloe brings fearful, feminine and childlike energy to the stage, suffering the advances of Palmer as his young slave mistress. Whereas Princess casts a wise and watchful eye upon all proceedings, having already mothered twin boys by Palmer.
The White Witch is truly theatre at its best: cruelly assaulting the senses of the audience, stimulating unconscious fears, desires and prejudices, and allowing unrepressed joy to burst forth... A supreme performance from a small company shouting loudly from the shadows. Special mention to the Boyd siblings who prove that talent still runs through the veins of their family.
Certainly, celebrities have already been in attendance including celebrated actor Joseph Marcell, well known for playing Geoffrey the butler in 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'.
The already well-recieved play which debuted on the 1st of April, will continue nightly throughout the month until the 30th.
Tickets are available to purchase here: http://www.chelseatheatre.org.uk/whats-on/white-witch/
or by telephone: 0207 352 1967
Located at the bottom of the King's Road, in the World's End. The White Witch offers the perfect opportunity to inject some culture into your evening, perhaps before enjoying some beverages at any of Chelsea's popular bars and clubs located on the Fulham Road and of course those on the King's Road.
The Black Swan
Thee Black Swan aims to bring classical and contemporary Theatre and Opera productions to a wide and diverse audience. With it's innovative style it seeks to explore a variety of cultures and historical events to bring a fresh voice to the theatrical world.
The London Journalist