About the show
British history explored in Chris Hannan’s What Shadows at Park Theatre.
Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech is one of the most notorious moments in modern British politics. Chris Hannan’s 2016 play exploring that moment, and the impact it had, arrives at London’s Park Theatre from 27 September 2017.
Roxana Silbert directs What Shadows, which premiered at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in November 2016. The plot centres on Rose Cruickshank, an Oxford Academic researching Powell’s infamous piece of writing. The woman’s interest in Powell, however, is about more than scholarly research.
As the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, Cruickshank desperately wants to understand what made Powell choose those words. A meeting is set up for the researcher to meet with the former politician. But will this really provide Cruickshank with the answers she is seeking?
Actor Ian McDiarmid reprise his role as Enoch Powell for the transfer of What Shadows to Park Theatre. Science fiction fans love McDiarmid because of his performances as Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars films. An acclaimed stage performer, his celebrated career has recently included theatrical roles in Life Of Galileo for the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Merchant Of Venice at Almeida Theatre.
Amelia Donkor plays Rose Cruickshank. Nicholas Le Prevost, Paula Wilcox, Waleed Akhtar, Ameet Chana and also Joanna Pearce complete the cast.
The Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times all give What Shadows four stars. Many of the reviews praise McDiarmid’s stand-out performance. WhatsOnStage says, “Hannan brings history back to life: a black and white photo recoloured. It sheds light on the present.”
With debates around immigration very much part of the current news cycle, What Shadows offers a timely glimpse into Britain’s fraught past with the issue.
What Shadows runs from 26 September – 28 October 2017 at Park Theatre.