The RMTC kicks off its season with The Color Purple
By Sarah Vandale
A theatre-goer’s love of theatre never really disappears, but sometimes it gets dimmed until a certain show comes around and re-ignites it.
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s The Color Purple is one of those shows.
The first show of RMTC’s 2019-2020 season is based on the novel written by Alice Walker and is directed by Winnipeg-born Kimberley Rampersad, who sets the bar high with her RMTC directorial debut. Stand-out performances by Tara Jackson (Celie) and Broadway-veteran Ryan Allen (Mister) are supported by a triple-threat cast.
The Color Purple follows Celie, who’s only a teenager when her father sends her to live with Mister and be his wife. As the years pass, Mister abuses Celie and cuts all of her communication to Nettie, her sister, (played by Allison Edwards-Crewe), but with the help of the women around her, Celie slowly begins to find her strength.
The Color Purple is inspiring.
Tara Jackson has the audience in the palm of her hand by the end of her first scene with her raw and heartbreaking performance. The audience erupted into applause before her rendition of the show-stopping number “I’m Here” was over.
Watching characters like Sofia (played by Janelle Cooper) and Shug (played by Karen Burthwright) empower Celie and help her find her voice is the ultimate story of women empowerment.
Powerhouse Ryan Allen makes it easy to hate antagonist Mister, but he charms the audience with “Mister’s Song.” Even if it’s only based on talent, it’s more than enough.
With the pop-gospel-style music and the quiet, emotional moments, it’s hard to believe the show is two and a half hours long. The pacing was quick and kept the audience immersed in the story while sitting on the edge of their seats.
The Color Purple is certainly an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s one that you won’t want to get off of. The show will make you laugh, cry, gasp, and cheer – the incredibly talented cast is to thank for that.
If you don’t see The Color Purple at Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, you’re missing out on an extremely powerful and special experience.
The Color Purple runs until Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. Tickets start at $27 and can be purchased at https://royalmtc.ca/Current-Plays/The-Color-Purple.aspx.