OUTSIDE THE BOX
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.