Tag Archives: Carla Goodman



Seven Dials Playhouse

BLUE at the Seven Dials Playhouse


“The claustrophobic atmosphere is masterfully built and each new twist sheds new light on the truth”

In this searing and hard-hitting two hander, the personal and political are blurred to explore a very human take on the current American culture wars.

It’s a clever concept. A cop of 29 years is being interrogated about his shooting of an African American suspect. The senior officer who is interrogating him is black. She is also his former partner’s wife, and his former boss’ daughter. They’ve been on family holidays, fishing trips and to Disneyland together. There’s a shared fondness. But now they find themselves on opposite ends of an increasingly divided United States.

June Carryl’s script bubbles and seethes. The claustrophobic atmosphere is masterfully built and each new twist sheds new light on the truth. There are a few clunky plot moments, and while the premise is compelling, it does feel a little implausible. The senior officer’s tone changes a little suddenly at times, and she was a harder character to pin down. Interestingly, this character is played by writer June Carryl. However, it’s a very good idea, and there are some shocking moments.

“June Carryl is a marvel”

Michael Matthews’ direction sees the two characters verbally wrestling and sparring for his job, but also for the future of the United States. There are moments of light and shade, and surprisingly a few well-placed jokes.

June Carryl is a marvel. She wrestles with the professional and personal, as well as the broader political ramifications. This woman watches someone she knows well change before her eyes and Carryl shows it all on her face. One barb by him leaves her in shocked silence, face folding in, and is a subtle moment of pure talent. She doesn’t overshadow John Colella, though, who is also remarkable, even if the character is obviously less palatable. He brings to life a character a lot of people rightly struggle with, and manages to make him feel human and real.

Carla Goodman’s set design is bare and stark. Strip lighting evokes the integration room. I struggled a little with the mirrors on the walls, while it did echo the real room, having the play in the round, with mirrors, meant the risk of getting distracted by other audience members was high.

The shape or path of this production is not particularly surprising. However, that is why it is important, the sad truths it explores and exposes are vital to consider in theatre, and the performances bring to the stage a frightening reality of everyday police brutality.

BLUE at the Seven Dials Playhouse

Reviewed on 8th March 2024

by Auriol Reddaway

Photography by Michael Matthews



Previously reviewed at this venue:

SUNSETS | ★★ | September 2023
STEVE | ★★★★ | February 2022



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