A Strange Loop review is out!
Without a doubt, A Strange Loop has been one of the most highly anticipated Broadway transfers of Summer, 2023. This musical is about a black, queer writer writing about a black queer writer, writing about a black queer writer… well, you get it! The name says it all.
Don’t be put off by the seemingly confusing plot. Stick with it, as this musical is so much more than its story — which is a fabulous compliment because the story is great. This musical made me question why, for so long, so many musicals have had a similar linear format that is repetitive and dry. It’s exciting that we can now see works like A Strange Loop, which flip this traditional format on its head. This allows for new and, if I’m honest, more interesting and truthful stories to be told.
The show covers a range of subjects, such as sexuality, race, family and, most importantly, identity. It’s a brutally honest production and there were moments when the show so delicately balanced the line between tragedy and humour that the audience didn’t know how to react. The small ensemble, which is made up of Usher and his 6 thoughts, was exceptional and the quick changes between characters were impressive.
Kyle Ramar Freeman as Usher was incredible. His voice is stunning and he has a magical ability that made me feel as if I was the only person in the theatre — this is no mean feat in a theatre such as the Barbican! Each of the ensemble characters had their moments. A particular segment that stood out to me was Sharlene Hector’s scene as the theatregoer who comes to Usher randomly at a point when he is in crisis. It’s a beautiful moment in the show and highlights the importance of being listened to and not giving up on yourself or your passions.
The music in this show was also remarkable. The set was seemingly simple at first but it just kept growing — literally! The layers of the stage were revealed as Usher’s story unravelled. I loved the use of the ‘Thoughts’ to portray different characters, as well as multiple dimensions of the same character. This is definitely a show to see with other people as there is so much to discuss afterwards and it would be fascinating to see everybody’s different perspectives on elements of the show.
A show that keeps you thinking even days after you’ve seen it is always a good one and highlights just how talented the writers are. Michael R. Jackson has a hit here and I can’t wait for A Strange Loop to reshape the West End. I hope it encourages a wave of new, inventive, unapologetic and more honest musical theatre. A show like this makes everyone question what they really want from theatre. For me, it is undeniably a unique, untold story, with incredible musical and visual creativity and more diversity. It’s that simple!
After years of being a theatre fan and reviewing shows I had seen informally with friends and family, I decided to share these through Instagram. I have loved celebrating theatre with my online community and having the opportunity to see a variety of shows. Theatre is such an incredible art form and I love inspiring other people to go along and experience some incredible stories too.