Explosive combination of two worlds colliding

Simone James - Melody, Fisayo Akinade - Jim Neighbors. Picture: Bill Knight
Simone James - Melody, Fisayo Akinade - Jim Neighbors. Picture: Bill Knight
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Jean has a black husband, and Richard has a wife who happens to be white – they all have new neighbours.

Set in a quiet American suburb, Neighbors is having its European premiere at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, from tonight until Saturday.

As a modern day family moves in, the Pattersons’ relationships are pushed to the limit. Tensions mount and stereotypes are brutally exposed as a middle class, aspirant black family are confronted by a family of travelling performers – the ghost of America’s past.

It’s the second time the Nuffield Theatre and HighTide Festival Theatre have joined forces.

Director Steven Atkinson says: ‘It’s American satire by a young black playwright writing about African American identity today, and it’s history.

‘Neighbors is a big, exuberant, acknowledgement of the history of the black face and minstrel.

‘The play is about two worlds colliding – the combination is explosive as modern America confronts its hidden history.’

Neighbors is written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and was first performed at The Public Theatre, New York, in 2010. The Brooklyn-based playwright has won the Princess Grace Award 2012, the Dorothy Strelsin Playwriting Fellowship 2012 and the Paula Vogel Award for Playwriting 2011.

Tickets: £10.50 to £19 from the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, on (023) 8067 1771 or go to nuffieldtheatre.co.uk.