Apphia Campbell brings an all-encompassing presence to the stage during this solo performance. Based on events in the life of jazz singer Nina Simone, Campbell has written an adaptation that gives a snapshot of the life of Mena Bordeaux, a classical pianist turned jazz singer and activist, who is looking for answers and redemption during a three-day "cleanse" in isolation, free of alcohol and cigarettes.
She's bitter, colourful, quiet, roaring, intense, distant and reflective. She will make you cheer for her, smile with her and then sting your eyes with tears.
During this time we hear her talk to a picture of her father, of whom we hear she has many wonderful memories, but to whom she hadn't spoken for some time before his untimely death. Pulling memories from an old suitcase, she talks us through her life growing up: the racism, the loves, her family and most importantly, the music. The story smoothly transports you from place to place, the bare bedroom setting becoming her old living room, a concert hall or a jazz club. The music is seamlessly sewn into the narrative, as necessary and impassioned as the monologue itself. Simple but very effective use of lighting and sound cues, executed perfectly, add another layer of success.
Apphia Campbell is nothing short of sensational. She brings the stories and the characters to life in front of you in a way that makes you feel like you've just watched a cast of seven or eight. And she can really sing: she's bitter, colourful, quiet, roaring, intense, distant and reflective. She will make you cheer for her, smile with her and then sting your eyes with tears.