Written and directed by acclaimed multi-award-winning comedienne Angie Le Mar, the hit gospel musical production, Take Me Back, is back in London. We went to check out the production, which is running until 15 December 2018.
- Trigger warning: This play contains content on sexual abuse/violence and fertility issues.
Based on Andre Crouch’s gospel classic Take Me Back, the play tells the story of two young girls, Patricia and Andrea, who formed a strong friendship whilst attending church with their mothers. However, life hits them both in ways they could never imagine, leading them down different and painful paths, only for them to return to the church and the faith of their childhood.
True to a musical, the play provides a good balance of acting and singing. Featuring numerous church classics such as “On the day of Pentecost”, the play is a reminder of how music has the power to take us to key moments in our lives – expect to find yourself singing along with the actors!
What makes this play special is that the characters are very familiar. Almost everyone who visits will be able to find a character or scene they can relate to – especially those from the black community. Throughout the play, you’ll find yourself recognising one of the characters as yourself or a family member. From Andrea’s teenage rebellion which hides a deep secret, to Andrea’s mum who takes comfort in hiding behind religion to avoid the realities confronting her; and Patricia who reminds us of the heartbreak that occurs when one’s blind child-like faith is challenged – if you’ve experienced religion before, you’ll be able to relate.
An irony in itself, during the play, you’ll find yourself laughing at phrases like “Plantain may be four for a £1, but salvation with Jesus is free”, whilst simultaneously trying to keep your eyes dry from sad tears. Taking you on an emotional rollercoaster the play is reflective of the complex relationship between religion and culture. It shines a spotlight on life within the black community churches, especially the Windrush generation and their families. The play forces the audience to go on a journey with the characters to explore experiences that often go unspoken or are kept hidden from the public. The play perfectly explores the beauty of church, but also confronts its limitations, such as gossip and judgement, as well as people’s fear of exclusion from the church community.
The play isn’t just about church. It explores the difference between carrying out performative religious acts and actually experiencing a relationship with God full of love. It looks at the centrality and importance of church for migrant communities, and explores how many, especially women, use religion as a coping mechanism to avoid confronting the injustices and pain they have faced. Overall, the play shows how losing faith in God following difficult moments could also mean losing a connection to the church and one’s community. The play touches on highly sensitive topics and makes the audience confront issues such as sexual abuse, the complexity of marriage and love, and questioning God’s compassion. Therefore, do be aware before watching the play.
The play took us on a nostalgic journey that had us reminiscing on where our friends from the good old church days are.
LONDON – 4 to 15 December 2018, 7.30pm
208 Wandsworth Road
Box office: 020 7622 9208