WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE? Trafalgar Studios RUN TIME: 105 minutes (usually, with no interval)
WHEN?: 10/12 (press ticket) runs to 23/2/19
They say the show must go on but it doesn’t always and it didn’t the last time we saw a cast member taken ill during a performance.
- Read on for reasons including how understudy Jade Hackett deservedly won a standing ovation at the show’s close
Our best wishes for a speedy recovery go to Cecilia Noble who made it through just half an hour of this performance before she was taken ill and it was paused for 15 minutes so she could be replaced by her understudy Jade Hackett.
Hackett is listed in the programme as being the stand-in for 3 roles here and the character of Aunt Maggie is the comic star of this play by the first living black British woman playwright to have work on in the West End.
We did wonder whether something was up before Noble’s departure because her breathing was heavy and she did appear to be struggling on her feet, although that’s very much in character with the part she was playing.
Hackett seemed much younger than the actress she was replacing but deservedly won a standing ovation at the show’s close which left her seemingly delighted but in tears.
The events were all the more dramatic because the play’s author Natasha Gordon is in the cast and gripped Hackett by the hand to thank her at the show’s close.
Nine Night is about the way a Jamaican family in England mourns the loss of its mother and author Gordon playing devoted daughter Lorraine simmers nicely during the all-night parties before finally boiling over as the conclusion nears.
We loved Michelle Greenidge as sister Trudy who arrives unexpectedly from Jamaica to shake things up and the familial tensions and rivalries are well handled here.
Nine Night is both very funny and groundbreaking in that it has so many leading roles for women as well as depicting a culture that deserves more of its stories to feature on West End stages.
The proof of good writing is surely in the test it passed with flying colours here with a newcomer parachuted into a role late but providing a safe landing for all.