The hype surrounding For Black Boys is pretty difficult to ignore. First produced at New Diorama Theatre in 2021, it transferred to the Royal Court in 2022. Following a sell-out run it had its first West-End transfer in 2023 when it played at the Apollo Theatre. It's now back for its second, and plays at the Garrick Theatre for 9 weeks. 


The play is set within a therapy session attended by 6 black men. At various points one of the characters deliver a monologue which sparks a debate, choreographed number, or song. The themes of the monologues cover a huge range of topics including sex, fathers, the n-word, and university. As one story weaves into another, the resulting effect is an unfiltered, unflinching, deeply moving depiction of what it means to be a black man in the UK.

The structure of the play is unlike anything I have seen before, and Cameron's script uses words, music, and song to communicate character and story. This creates a drama that is incredibly visceral, and I connected with each of the characters on an emotional level. 


The subjects the drama covered were incredibly authentic and many of the conversations had within the group, I had never heard outside of black spaces. The play perfectly depicts the diversity and nuance of black men with many of the group disagreeing on a variety of topics. 


Cameron's script is brilliant in the ways it illustrates the wide spectrum of black men's emotions. From strength to vulnerability and fear to pain. It seamlessly moves between comedy and drama, making me laugh out loud (like I was in my front room) and moving me close to tears. It gave depth and complexity to examples of black men often seen in the media (i.e. mandem), while also highlighting the lesser seen examples, like the virgin church boys or the insecure light skin men. 


The script is beautifully brought to life by phenomenal performances and there wasn't a weak link among the fantastic ensemble cast.  It would be unfair to single out any of the superb actors, who combined brought to life a multitude of funny, moving, and relatable characters. As they stood to take their fourth curtain call, the community between the actors was evident and it was clear they had been bonded by this play. 


Having not seen any of the earlier productions, I had no idea what to expect. But with the buzz around this play, I had high expectations. As the curtain fell, I knew the hype was well deserved. For Black Boys is hands down, one of the best things I've seen at the theatre.


For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy runs until 4 May. Tickets: here.


Review: Karla Williams       Photos: Johan Persson