Culture Buff

Vanessa Downing and Geoff Morrell in Black is the New White

27 May 2017

9:00 AM

27 May 2017

9:00 AM

I should have written about this play earlier; it is on now at the Sydney Theatre Company Wharf 1. Black is the New White by Nakkiah Lui is enjoying its hugely successful premiere season, virtually sold out with only restricted view seats until it ends on 17 June. Co-writer and star of ABC’s Black Comedy, the author has described her play as ‘ the world’s first middle-class Aboriginal Christmas rom- com’. It is also a hit. Diana Simmonds has called it : ‘funny, acerbic, politically incorrect, charming, shocking, silly, intelligent and hugely entertaining’. Critics are unanimous that it presents ‘an Australia that has rarely been portrayed before, and never so accurately and so wickedly’. The ‘Australia’ that is portrayed is the merging, through marriage, of two successful well-off families, one of them white and the other black.

Nakkiah Lui is reportedly very well served by the director, Paige Rattray, and a stylish ensemble cast with Shari Sebbens and James Bell as the young lovers, Tony Briggs and Melodie Reynolds-Diarra as her parents, and Vanessa Downing and Geoff Morrell as his parents. Kylie Bracknell plays her rather uppity black designer sister and Anthony Taufa, the brother-in-law, a former rugby star and now born-again Christian. Lui hasn’t written an ‘indigenous’ play; instead it’s an ‘astute and questioning social comedy on identity politics’. Don’t be too disappointed if you can’t get a ticket; Black is the New White is bound to have further seasons.

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