backstage before and during a performance of The Black and
White Minstrel Show just after Harold Wilson's Labour
government came to power in to 1964, Black Slap
gently interrogates the way that the differences between people –
whether of colour, intellect, sexuality, gender or class - affect
an ambitious young black man, finds himself in the arguably awkward
(or according to his sister, morally dubious) position of being
dresser to four white men who perform every evening in black face. He
is brighter than the lot of them, doing the job to put himself
through a psychology degree, and proving amazingly resilient to the
grinding racism of 1960s Britain.
only when news comes down from above that the company have been asked
to take part in the Royal Variety Performance in a
few weeks' time, but that the more 'eccentric' members of the cast will
be excluded, that it becomes clear that Pyrex is not the only
character struggling in a society quick to condemn anyone who
strays from the norm.
secret behind the success of this enjoyable play is the subtlety with
which challenging issues are broached, as well several strong performances from the very able cast.