“There is one appropriate way of responding to a woman of color who says, I have an idea to assert, and that is to shut up and listen”
The European premiere of the hit Off-Broadway play The Niceties by Eleanor Burgess.
At an elite East Coast university, an ambitious young black student and her esteemed white professor meet to discuss a paper the college junior is writing about the American Revolution. They’re both liberal. They’re both women. They’re both brilliant. But very quickly, discussions of grammar and Google turn to race and reputation, and before they know it, they’re in dangerous territory neither of them had foreseen – and facing stunning implications that can’t be undone.
The Niceties is a complex and compelling depiction of racial and generational divides which speaks directly to our polarised, post-truth era, as it asks who gets to tell the story of America, and how.
Originally premiered at the Huntington Theatre, Boston, before transferring to Manhattan Theatre Club, New York City, The Niceties marks the European debut of a stunning new American playwright, Eleanor Burgess.
A patriotic history professor clashes with her activist student in a smart play sustained by an early surge of ideas
Worthy but stilted and overly talky play debating race and reputation
This American drama about racism and privilege in education feels wildly patronising to millennials
Burgess’s writing is superbly razor sharp, like a particularly fervent game of tennis the dialogue bounces back and forth at a merciless pace
An interesting, cleverly written, layered story that looks at race, racism and white privilege in America
The Niceties starts a conversation and highlights the generational and racial complications inherent to the political dialogue, but ultimately leaves a bitter taste by making this dramatised debate unequal
Intriguing but inconclusive culture wars debate
Although not particularly groundbreaking (at least for a typical liberal London audience) Matthew Ilife’s production of The Niceties is incredibly watchable, due to the strong performances by Dee and Akinola