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Clever Sheffield play retraces steps of black people through history

Black Men Walking, Crucible Studio
Black Men Walking, Crucible Studio
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Review: Black Men Walking, Crucible Studio

Black history and the troubles of their present lives follow a trio of black men on a Peak District walk.

Historian Tom (Tyrone Huggins) leads fussy doctor Matthew (Trevor Laird) and chirpy Star Trek fan Richard (Tonderai Munyevu) on a trip that’s meant to be an escape and a statement of their right to walk the land. But Matthew’s wife is constantly texting him, Richard eventually opens up about his strained relationship with his late father in Ghana and Tom is haunted by all the black people who have trodden the land before him. “We walked England before the English!” he declares, mentioning Roman emperor Septimus Severus and 17th-century York businessman John Moore as examples of a long history of black people in Yorkshire. He compares himself to Henderson’s Relish - “Sheffield and black”.

They come across rapper Ayeesha (Dorcus Sebuyange) in the fog, clearing her head after an encounter with a racist in a takeaway.

Tom thinks she’s an ancestral vision but she becomes all too real when she sharply questions how black men walking is a political statement.

A strong cast, writer Testament’s merging of realistic dialogue with rap and beatboxing and Dawn Walton’s sharp direction get a strong message across with humour and flair.