The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, The Theatre Chipping Norton CREDIT Geraint Lewis

Passionate, provocative, funny, angry, rousing, moving – The Mountaintop by Katori Hall (herself from the southern States) imagines the final night of Dr Martin Luther King before his assassination on 4th April in Memphis, in that searingly-violent year, 1968.

King (a tour-de-force performance by Luke Wilson), exhausted and self-doubting, returns alone to his motel room and orders up room service.

this play is so much more than a period piece of black history.

The chambermaid (a fabulous performance by still-drama-student Boni Adeliyi) who brings his coffee takes the evening in an unexpected direction, leading him to question the mission he has devoted his life to, and what his legacy in the Civil Rights movement will be.

READ ABOUT IT HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/everyones-talking-about-the-award-winning-the-mountaintop-at-chippy-theatre-have-you-booked-yet/  

The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, The Theatre Chipping Norton CREDIT Geraint Lewis

The play touches on tensions between the public and private lives of ‘heroes’, the politics of violent and non-violent change, the rocky road to progress that has included both Barack Obama and Black Lives Matter – and yet this play is so much more than a period piece of black history.

It pitches Martin Luther King’s undoubted stature and vision (his final great speech, given on that day, is known as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”) against a poor, young, black working-class girl, inspired by the playwright’s mother.  

The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, The Theatre Chipping Norton CREDIT Geraint Lewis

As we come to know and understand the two characters better, their relationship changes – radicalism, status, education and fame being met by youth, energy, courage and honesty.  

It’s an absolutely riveting 90 minutes, as Camae moves from being the servant bringing coffee (and the forbidden whisky and cigarettes!) to taking on the mantle of the passionate orator, briefly carrying the Civil Rights baton.  It must be seen! 

The Mountaintop is at The Theatre Chipping Norton, until May 14, with a British Sign Language performance, and post-show talk on Monday 9, an audio-described performance on Tuesday 10 and plenty of special offers on ticket prices, returning to Oxford Playhouse June 23-25.  Book here: https://www.chippingnortontheatre.com/whats-on/the-mountaintop

SHEILA BAILEY