#AdventwithClowns Day 16 – Hymn (Almeida, via Sky Arts)

Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani scorch in Lolita Chakrabarti’s sharp two-hander Hymn, first seen at the Almeida

“He had a kind face”

Sky Arts has proved a real boon in helping me catch up with plays I missed this year. The Almeida’s Hymn debuted online at the beginning of the year, its socially distanced production (by the excellent Blanche McIntyre) first being livestreamed and then managing an IRL run in the summer. Lolita Chakrabarti has spoken of her inspiration being the lack of stories about emotional relationships between (straight) men and here, she has certainly rectified that.

We follow Gil (Lester) and Benny (Sapani) after the half-brothers discover their hitherto unknown relationship at their father’s funeral. And as they peel back the detritus from their vastly different upbringings, a connection is able to flourish between them, as friendship grows through the many things they share – the experience of Black British men, fatherhood, emotional reticence and best of all, a love of music. A lovely production that bursts through the screen with its quiet strength. 

Artwork photography by Zeinab Batchelor
is available to watch on Sky Arts and NowTV, with a subscription

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