We Raise Our Hands in the Sanctuary
For one night only, the Albany in Deptford opened its doors to the first act preview of ‘We Raise Our Hands in the Sanctuary’ by Inky Cloak. What we stumble upon is a 1970s back street club, where incensed Drag Queen, Brandy Alexander wants nothing more than to be fabulously dressed on time. Her show is about to start and Cinderella must get to the ball. However, what we want and what we get are two different things as she soon discovers as her dressmaker, Joseph struggles to sew the last rows of sequins onto her dress before her grand entrance. Not to worry Mamma’s got her designs on someone else, someone who has hands nimble enough to sew on the sequins like a pro, in walks Michael. What she doesn’t know is, theses boys have slightly different ideas from her and are out for some fun tonight. From this mayhem Joseph and Michael forge a friendship that sees them searching for something in the dark nights of New York’s club land.
As a work in progress it has some legs, now we just need to see it run its sequined course.
For a preview there are two things that stood out for me about this play. The first was the blooming friendship between Joseph and Michael; too young black gay teenagers telling two different stories about their experiences in this era of sexuality, race and the dawn of HIV and the AIDS epidemic. Joseph is sweet, sincere and all you want to do is look after him. While Michael seems hot headed, selfish and someone I found easy to dislike. I didn’t like who he was, I didn’t want them to be friends but I felt like they needed each other. No matter my dislike of Michael, something about him made me want to know what he did next.
The second thing I liked about this preview was the music. I felt I had been granted a night at Studio 54, disco music was supreme and I could easily get lost in the funk of the beat. The dancers in this play were a nice touch and it wasn’t them but the music that made me get up and dance. The music kept you on the dance floor even after the preview had finished, tempted onto the floor by the DJ who played a two- hour set. Although limited in design, this play felt like you were there, the audience felt part of the play and the DJ set afterwards cemented this fact. As a work in progress it has some legs, now we just need to see it run its sequined course.