OUT­SIDE THE BOX

North Toronto Post - - Currents - Ac­tors shine in Soulpep­per’s lat­est, The Royale

TheRoyale, on now at Soulpep­per un­til Nov. 11, is a story told in a box­ing ring over six rounds. And it is stun­ning. You may know lit­tle about the his­toric tale of world heavy­weight cham­pion Jack John­son, upon whom the story is based, and won’t know all that much more after see­ing it. But the is­sues are so real and rel­e­vant and the char­ac­ters so en­gag­ing and pow­er­ful that it hardly mat­ters. The play, writ­ten by Marco Ramirez of OrangeIs­theNew Black ac­claim, tells of the costs of mak­ing his­tory. Here, a black box­ing cham­pion rises up to yet un­known heights of fame to chal­lenge the white cham­pion in the Jim Crow era. But what is the fight re­ally about and what are the true costs of vic­tory? The play is won­der­ful. Each and ev­ery ac­tor just fully em­braces the char­ac­ter to pro­vide in­cred­i­ble per­for­mances. The star of the show, Dion John­stone, is tri­umphant as John­son, with both raw power and emo­tional depth. Along­side him is Alexan­der Thomas who of­fers up a mov­ing por­trayal of John­son’s trainer Wyn­ton. That’s why we go to the theatre, now isn’t it? For mo­ments such as these. Catch this pro­duc­tion be­fore it closes, Soulpep­per.ca.

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