Tag Archives: Ryan Calais Cameron



Garrick Theatre



“a beautifully poetic and bold piece of theatre”

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, takes your brain and your heart. It is a rollercoaster party for all, as Ryan Calais Cameron’s award-winning production returns to the West End for a limited season.

Starring in the now iconic roles in this new production of FBB, are a powerful new blend of talented actors: Tobi King Bakare (Onyx), Shakeel Haakim (Pitch) making his professional debut, Fela Lufadeju (Jet), Albert Magashi (Sable), Mohammed Mansaray (Obsidian) and Posi Morakinyo (Midnight). The cast of six young Black men are all in sync with each other and shine with their own identities and characters, with laugh out loud humour and exposed vulnerability.

It makes for a beautifully poetic and bold piece of theatre.



The show opens with a stunning piece of slow motion movement which then explodes with the colourful individual characters telling their stories of the beauty and burden of being black – and just being a human. This is a story of manhood and masculinity in Black Britain today, flowing through dance, monologues and music.

We meet the six young men in what appears to be a safe space therapy group telling their bravura stories about father figures or lack of, and macho sex. They are all about “how to be the right type of Black man” showing power and strength. But we also see snippets of their childhoods when they were bullied or not chased by the girls in kiss chase – because of the colour of their skin. They are visceral, and the aggressive and powerful choreography by Theophilus O. Bailey, shows the perception of angry young Black men, and how they articulate themselves when words fail them.

In act two, the set designed by Anna Reid, opens up into a fantasy fluorescent playground where the men feel safe to tell their truths with pain and honesty. The choreography softens but is equally as powerful. Self-aware and touchingly naïve, they talk poetically of their mothers’ eyes, their need for love, love found and love lost, abuse, peer pressure and sexuality….. as they each expose their raw vulnerability.



And that’s when they start to sing. As their trust grows their harmonies soar, as they show tenderness and emotion towards each other. Together these men are electric.

FBB is a stunningly slick show directed by the writer Ryan Calais Cameron, with music and sound by Nicola T. Chang.

In Cameron’s, For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, the message to those who have considered suicide is to learn to love yourself – and breathe. It is a very current and universal story – young men and mental health. It is about all young men who have considered suicide.


Reviewed on 7th March 2024

by Debbie Rich

Photography by Johan Persson




Previously reviewed at this venue:

HAMNET | ★★★ | October 2023
THE CROWN JEWELS | ★★★ | August 2023
ORLANDO | ★★★★ | December 2022
MYRA DUBOIS: DEAD FUNNY | ★★★★ | September 2021



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For Black Boys

For Black Boys …


Royal Court

For Black Boys

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy 

Royal Court Theatre – Jerwood Theatre Downstairs


Reviewed – 7th April 2022



“a special, important piece of writing, and beautifully executed”


This show is not just a bunch of moving parts, gathered together. This is a whole, a collective: the music informs the text informs the design informs the lighting informs the performances. And it all moves in perfect synchronicity.

Taking place in an unidentified safe space, these six Black Boys come from different families, different backgrounds, and yet they all feel the weight of the monolithic ‘Black Man’: A black man doesn’t cry, he doesn’t show any weakness, he doesn’t need love.

Each character has a chance to speak his piece, be that regarding primary or secondary school, paternal relationships, romance, further education, or inescapable violence. And each is received without judgement, without fear of rejection.

Considering it’s an entire play of exposition, you’d think it would get tired pretty quickly, but writer-director Ryan Calais Cameron shows the depths and widths of this subject, the many angles and refractions, and he finely laces what is incredibly serious and unsmiling with so much tenderness and humour. He’s not afraid to take a very sombre moment and morph it in to a joke and then back again, or vice versa. For example, Midnight (Kaine Lawrence) tells us how he lost his virginity when he was nine to his babysitter. It’s the sort of messed up story boys are made to feel they should brag about. But obviously Midnight is traumatised, and while he’s trying to downplay his trauma (“And I can see you lot looking at me like I’m a victim”) the group starts singing, “I just want you to know that you are really special” from Snoop Dog and Pharrell’s ‘Beautiful’. They start in earnest, gathering closer and closer, embracing him tight, eventually breaking into affectionate laughter.

This is just one of so many moments which aren’t simply one thing- funny or sad; silly or serious. And the performances reflect this atmospheric plurality: everyone is somehow both acutely self-aware and touchingly naïve; honest in their disagreements and yet open to change; able to flip a smile in to a grimace with one breath.

Obviously this safe space is a fantasy, but these characters are so multifaceted, their interactions so genuine, it feels like maybe there’s a future where this kind of open dialogue could really exist.

Anna Reid’s design works in perfect tandem with this idea, using bold block colours to create a space that is both welcoming and Utopian. Layered with Rory Beaton’s equally bold lighting design, it feels isolating and inclusive in turn, giving each character their moments of solitude and fraternity.

And the dancing, and the singing, and the almost jukebox-style curation of a flawless soundtrack. There is so much to wax lyrical about. Each performer is so in sync with his part, it feels like it must have been workshopped, but I don’t see how given that the script is basically an epic poem.

Such a special, important piece of writing, and beautifully executed.


Reviewed by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Ali Wright


For Black Boys …

Royal Court Theatre until 30th April


Reviewed by Miriam this year:
Moulin Rouge! | ★★★ | Piccadilly Theatre | January 2022
She Seeks Out Wool | ★★★★ | Pleasance Theatre | January 2022
Two Billion Beats | ★★★½ | Orange Tree Theatre | February 2022
The Ballad of Maria Marten | ★★★½ | Wilton’s Music Hall | February 2022


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