Reviews are in for Jitney at the Old Vic Theatre in London.
Tinuke Craig’s revival of August Wilson’s Jitney has opened to widespread acclaim in London.
The Evening Standard calls it “a stunning, richly textured piece of work” with The Times describing it “absorbing” and ‘a funny, fractious into the lives of 1970s American taxi drivers”. The Guardian found it “beautifully realised” and The Telegraph found it “tremendous” and “precisely the sort of project that could save Britain’s theatres.” Book tickets to Jitney at the Old Vic Theatre.
Written by acclaimed playwright August Wilson (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and directed by Tinuke Craig (The Color Purple), the play comes to the Old Vic following an acclaimed run at Leeds Playhouse.
A groundbreaking modern classic, Wilson’s play explores the fragile bond between eight men as they live, love and work in a racially segregated, post-Vietnam America. Set in an all-male, all-black minicab office in Pittsburgh in 1977, the guys bitch and banter in a grim, strip-lit office, interrupted by fares, family members and occasional flashpoints of rage.
The cast includes Geoff Aymer as Doub, Leanne Henlon as Rena, Wil Johnson as Becker, Leemore Marrett Jr as Booster, and Tony Marshall as Fielding, Nnabiko Ejimofor as Shealy, Solomon Israel as Young Blood, Dayo Koleosho as Philmore, Sule Rimi as Turnbo. Understudies are Lindon Alexander, Lincoln Conway, Blair Gyabaah and Yolanda Ovide
Jitney is booking until 9 July 2022 at the Old Vic Theatre in London.
Read a round up of theatre reviews for Jitney from the UK press including The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, Evening Standard and more. Additional reviews coming soon.
"Tinuke Craig’s production of August Wilson’s classic fairly crackles"
"Superb performances drive this thrilling slice of history that resonates powerfully today"
"The accents are good, the fashions spot on (mid-level afros and sheepskin jackets: it’s cold in Pittsburgh). Wilson tries to give everyone a place in the sun but doesn’t entirely succeed: Tony Marshall is winning as alcoholic driver Fielding but his backstory feels like an echo of Becker’s. Nnabiko Ejimofor’s numbers runner Shealy merely adds a dash of illicitness, and some great dance moves."
"This is a stunning, richly textured piece of work, both particular and universal."
"The pleasure of this gutsy and absorbing revival of August Wilson’s 1970s taxi-office drama is that it spares us the prissiness of political correctness. It treats us — and its troubled characters — like adults."
"A funny, fractious dive into the lives of 1970s American taxi drivers"
"Tinuke Craig’s fluid and absorbing revival oozes an unforced sense of edgy camaraderie, a sharp sense of lives in stasis amid a city in awkward motion. There is even, in the cinematic-jazz interludes by Max Perryment, a nod to Bernard Herrmann’s music for Taxi Driver."
"It’s unsentimental, but compassionate. And outstandingly well acted."
"It’s fractious, funny and lively enough that our suspension of disbelief can handle the cast breaking into a dance to a Bill Withers song. The accents are excellent, so good, in fact, that it takes a fair while, in this big old theatre at least, to tune into the vernacular. When the characters break off into smaller groups, though, the evening takes on an arresting intimacy."
"A taut, tense tale of Black injustice in 1970s America"
"A stylish rework of the August Wilson character-study sees a standout performance from Wil Johnson as the put-upon head of the titular cab station"
"Tinuke Craig’s beautifully realised production creates a microcosm of defiance and dashed dreams"
"Jitney is precisely the sort of project that could save Britain’s theatres"
"This is a tremendous staging of August Wilson's full-fat portrait of black working-class life"
"Gorgeous jazz strains interlace the dialogue, underscoring the improvisatory cut and thrust as this disparate jocular bunch bang back and forth through the office door, endlessly bantering, arguing and occasionally jostling for supremacy. Over the course of nearly three hours, there’s an awful lot of talk and not a lot of action. Some directors might have been tempted to nip and tuck, perhaps impose a bit of structure. Craig instead boldly embraces the messy ebb and flow."
"It’s terrific to see a work of this calibre brought into London after originating in a regional theatre – the sort of supportive relationship that the non-London theatre scene so desperately needs."
"A captivating revival"
"Tinuke Craig’s exquisite revival peels back the walls of their crumbling workplace, allowing us to enter it as bystanders who have happened to stumble across their little world."
"Wondrous and captivating, Craig’s production gets this play’s soul."
"Atmospheric and quietly revolutionary, but lacks plot"
"While Jitney has atmosphere, a sense of place, and social relevance, its most significant shortcoming is its lack of plot. Director Tinuke Craig has put together a slick production, with a filmic set and costumes that are appropriately awful for the period, but there is no coherent narrative line running through the events, and things drag, especially before the intermission."
"August Wilson’s taxi-stand drama has developed new flavour with age"
"Punctuated by the constant ringing of the phone, and by the minute-by-minute flinging open and banging shut of the office door, the action, though ferocious, imperilled and urgent, has the intricate timing and the near balletic quality of a French farce. August Wilson never ceases to surprise."
"Theatre review — a superbly acted revival of August Wilson’s Jitney at the Old Vic"