Mehr Mansuri’s musical is an unmissable true story destined for the West End, says Jennifer Kennedy
BY JENNIFER KENNEDY
Barbaric regimes forcing people into exile. Savage separation of parents and children by the rich and the powerful.
These are the themes in this stirring true story. Though it is based in the 1850s, sadly they still resonate today. Indeed, writer Mehr Mansuri has first-hand experience having escaped her native Iran due to the persecution of the Baha’i community.
I am something of a Fringe Veteran – this is my 32nd – and I would definitely put Henry Box Brown in my top five Festival shows of all time.
I found it intense and thought provoking. Magnificent acting by all of the cast and the intimacy of the venue drew me into the story.
I cried as Henry’s loving mother begged to be allowed to keep her son as he was ripped from her – and again when he grew up to endure the same fate as his pregnant wife and children were sold on the slave market.
I felt uplifted by the kindness shown by people who supported him as he quite literally mailed himself to freedom inside a three foot by two foot box. Human spirit triumphing even in the most hopeless place of prejudice and pain.
Mansuri describes Henry Box Brown as “Les Miserables set in the American south” that “shines a light on the human ability to transcend”.
I agree – expect to feel emotional as you watch the NYC cast tell this unmissable tale through a fusion of R&B and gospel. And see it now before it costs 10 times as much to watch it in London’s West End – which is where I predict it will end up.
For tickets, visit tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/henry-box-brown.
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