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  • Writer's pictureLisa in the theatre

REVIEW: The Color Purple (musical)

Updated: Apr 2

The Lowry, Manchester

11 October 2022


The Color Purple musical 2022

For the second time in a month I took myself off to Manchester for a show. I need to remember that I live over 200 miles away... But then Manchester has the best shows right now and I have FOMO!

The lyric theatre at The Lowry was the ideal location for The Colour Purple as the auditorium is fully decked out with purple carpets and seats. It's an impressive space, with a huge stage.

It may just be this particular stage, but I did feel a little removed from the action at times. Some scenes were fully played out in a small box on stage and I wished it could've been pulled out and brought forward somehow.

The opening number set in church introduces us to the spectacular vocal quality of the cast. It has an upbeat, gospel feel and I was instantly enthralled.

If you are familiar with the source novel or the 1985 film with Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, you will know that the subject matter is grim.

We meet Celie as an abused teen at home, in early 1900s America, she's pregnant, looses her children and then she is married off to 'Mister" at whose hands she suffers arguably even worse abuse. Celie is treated like crap for most of her life; She only has her sister Nellie who loves her - and Mister eventually manages to separate them too. Despite everything, Celie is resilient and kind, and when she meets two strong women, Sofia and Shug, she learns to fight back and stand up for herself. (Insert cheering from the audience!)

Me'sha Bryan and the company of The Color Purple at The Lowry Salford. Photo by Lisa in the Theatre.

Me'sha Bryan is excellent as Celie. She cleverly adapts her voice and her posture so we really do see a change in her from a downtrodden teenager to finding herself later in life. Me'sha has the biggest smile and it was great to see her beaming in the bows.

Anelisa Lamola was mesmerising as Sofia. She is absolutely gorgeous with attitude to spare, and I couldn't take my eyes off her. "Hell No!" has been added to my list of epic musical theatre songs. The whole theatre was on her side from that song onwards.

I was not familiar with the soundtrack beforehand and it is absolutely beautiful. "Hell No!" is epic, but also the title number 'The Colour Purple' is beautiful. I don't think there's a weak song nor a weak voice in the cast.

It's not all sad either. There are perfect moments of wit and lightness interjected throughout the show as 3 ladies gossip about the goings on to great comedic effect! It is balanced really well - those moments really do help raise us out of the darkness. Also songs like 'In Miss Celie's pants' bring all the joy and feels!

I loved it. I'm so glad I got to see this show and I wish the production every success in future.

[Review first posted on Instagram 15 October 2022]

💜 REVIEW: The Color Purple the musical (The Lowry, Salford 2022, The Colour Purple)💜

📸 Find Lisa in the Theatre on Instagram for more photos and videos

Lisa in the Theatre, UK Theatre Blog


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