Queens of Sheba (4 stars)

This article is from 2018

Queens of Sheba

Both joy and pain in this celebration of black women's strength

Though Queens of Sheba is ostensibly about four women who are turned away from a club for being too black, this incident is far from the main focus of the show. In fact, the scene only occurs three-quarters of the way through; what's far more important is how they got to be in that position in the first place.

Through a series of powerfully sung or spoken vignettes, the women detail the various micro-aggressions they contend with on the basis of both their race and gender. They seamlessly inhabit a litany of roles, parodying their oppressors as well as winking at commonly held stereotypes about black women. The club scene is merely the straw that breaks the camel's back, and when it does, the heartbreak in the room is palpable.

But there's plenty of fun to be had too. A grateful tribute to black female singers sits side-by-side with hilarious impersonations of white men trying to explain why they should get to use the n-word. Their vocal prowess is only matched by equally excellent choreography that highlights the strength these women draw from one another, come what may. In the immortal words of Diana Ross: there ain't no mountain high enough for these queens.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug (not 13), 6.50pm, £10—£11 (£9–£10).

Queens of Sheba

  • 4 stars

Queens of Sheba tells the stories of four black women who have been turned away from a night club for 'being too black' (based on the Dstrkt night spot incident of 2015).