Foxes doesn’t shy away from important topics and difficult conversations. It has some of the most authentic characters I’ve seen on a stage. You can see them as real people and this is a real story for many.
Dexter Flanders’ debut play Foxes is back for the summer at the Seven Dials Playhouse. Following its critically acclaimed runs at Theatre503 and Theatre Peckham. They are also running an Associate Programme, which you can find out more about further down this page.
Foxes tackles the topic of black queerness and the impact of coming out within the London Caribbean community. Daniel (played by Michael Fatogun) is a young black man, living with his mother Patricia (Sex Education’s Doreene Blackstock) and sister Deena (Tosin Alabi).
Daniel’s girlfriend Meera (Nemide May), finds out she is pregnant and is rejected by her Muslim family. She moves in with Daniel and his family. As they are adjusting to the idea of becoming young parents, Daniel and his friend Leon (Anyebe Godwin) have an argument which ends in a kiss.
Fatogun absolutely shines in his role, as a man struggling with his sexuality. His portrayal is emotive, real and honest. You can feel the character’s turmoil and confusion through his body language and expressions. It really is a masterclass performance by Fatogun.
Leon admits he has always known that he is queer. However, he remains in the closet due to fears of exclusion and being disowned by his family and community. The play compares the gay black community to foxes. As they hide during the day and emerge at night, when they no longer have to be scared to live their truth.
Faith plays an important role within this play – with Meera’s Muslim family rejecting her due to her pregnancy outside of marriage. Patricia, is a Christian and has raised her children in this faith, they are encouraged to go to church. And she quotes the bible when Daniel subsequently comes out to her.
There is a beautiful scene between Leon and Deena in a Footlocker. During this scene they are both talking about trainers, but that’s not what the conversation is actually about. It beautifully portrays unspoken words, they both know what they actually mean and this is show with expressions and side glances.
The characters within this show felt incredibly authentic. They represented real people you can find all over London and real struggles people face. Their slang and accents felt authentic and I’m sure members of the audience can see themselves within these characters.
The set design is simple, and is used as a backdrop for Will Monks’ video projections. Sometimes these worked incredibly well. There was a scene where a rainy window was projected and it really helped with conveying the emotions felt within the scene. However a lot of these projections felt unnecessary and took away from the performances – which conveyed everything on their own.
Something else which was unnecessary for me was the scene changes. During which a lot of the time music was played and movement was used by Daniel to convey his feelings visually. However, I feel the script tackled these well enough and when paired with Fatogun’s portrayal, everything was expressed perfectly. There were also very long pauses between scenes at times which really hindered the flow of the play.
This is one of the only plays I have ever seen that I’ve felt could benefit from being longer! Apart from Leon and Daniel the other characters were not fully developed and we did not learn much about them. Especially Deena, who was criminally underused and there was so much potential to explore there!
The scene of Daniel coming out to his mother is heartbreaking and powerful, both actors gave sensational performances during this scene. I feel like we all could have done with a break after such an emotional scene. This would have been a great opportunity for an interval and then to continue the story!
However, it’s rare that a play deals head on with marginalised people’s stories so honestly and authentically. More theatres should be making space for these important stories. And to use characters which represent real people!
It’s a solid debut play from Flanders. Foxes tackles some incredibly important issues. There’s just some directorial issues which could vastly improve the play. But for a debut its great and makes me excited for what he will do next.
🎟 PR INVITE
Foxes – Associated Programme
Director/Writer Development Programme
An opportunity for up-and-coming writers and directors to develop a 10-15 minute scratch piece in response to FOXES to be performed as part of Defib Write Night at Seven Dials Playhouse on the 29th May. Each piece can have a max of 3 actors, the company will be provided by partners Theatre Peckham. 5 writers and 5 directors will be paired together by the Defibrillator team. Participants will have an opportunity to watch FOXES and an accompanying exclusive Q&A with FOXES creatives on Friday 6th May and will be encouraged to consider the themes, characters, style, structure of the play and how they might write a short play in response.
The programme will start on Thursday 12th May with an introductory session and a workshop with Dexter Flanders and James Hillier on their experiences of collaborating and creating new writing.
Participants on this course will also gain entry to all ‘In Conversation With…’ Q&A’s & writing workshop with Inua Ellams.
Dates: Friday 6th – Sunday 29th May 2022
Q&A with Jennifer Thomas and Mildred Yuan from United Agents
Jennifer Thomas represents screenwriters, playwrights, directors and as part of United Agents Book to Screen Department is responsible for selling film & television rights in our books. Mildred Yuan represents world-class performers and creatives. Her clients include Olivier Award-winners, National Television Award winners and household names. She helps clients to find their superpower and guides them to take control of their careers. Join Jennifer and Mildred for a Q&A packed with industry insights.
Date: Tuesday 17th May 2022
Time: 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Poet, playwright, performer and Fringe First winner Inua Ellams shares insights from his award- winning works in a writing workshop.
Date: Thursday 19th May 2022
Time: 2pm – 3.30pm
Tickets: £20 | £15 Concession
Art Alkhemy Sip & Paint Session
This is a painting session with a twist! Unleash your creativity with cocktail in one hand, paintbrush in the other, and Hip Hop and R&B on the loudspeakers. Sip & Paint feeds your creativity while providing an atmosphere for you to be surrounded by like-minded people, as you listen to the music you love, sip your favourite drinks, and paint your imagination to life on canvas.
Date: Friday 20th May 2022
Time: 9.45pm – 11pm
Martial Arts / Stage Combat hosted by The Academy of Heroes
Join premium trainers from The Academy of Heroes who specialise in Martial Arts and Stage Combat for a one-off workshop.
Date: Saturday 21st May 2022
Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Poetic Unity: Animal Instincts
This poetry slam session is presented with Poetic Unity, a Brixton based charity that provides support and services for young people across the UK who use poetry as a tool to support young people’s mental health, education, personal development, physical health, and community cohesion. Artists from Poetic Unity will perform work based on the theme of ‘Animal Instincts’
Date: Sunday 22nd May 2022
Time: 5:30pm – 7:45pm
In Conversation With… Roy Williams and Dexter Flanders
Award-winning playwright Roy Williams joins Dexter Flanders, the writer of FOXES for a special ‘In Conversation With…’ event.
Date: Wednesday 25th May 2022
Tickets: £7 | £5 Concession
More In Conversation With… events announced soon!
Black Heritage Pub Quiz
Bring some friends and grab a drink at Seven Dials Playhouse for a one-off Pub Quiz focusing on Black pop culture and history.
Date: Wednesday 27th May 2022
Time: 9.30pm – 11pm
Mista Strange and Strangers Party
A night of performances that will spotlight and up-and-coming queer rappers. With performances from Mista Strange and further performers to be announced followed by a DJ and a Rum Bar flowing all evening!
Date: Saturday 28th May
Time: 9:30pm – 11pm
Free for FOXES ticket holders | £10 for non-ticket holders
Movement with Daniel Bailey
Join a movement workshop with Urdang Academy trained Daniel Bailey who is currently dance captain at Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical.
Date: Saturday 28th May 2022
Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Defib Write Night
This is an opportunity to see the work created by the artist participants of our Writer/Director Development Programme. Having collaborated with the Defibrillator team, the work will be presented in a series of scratch performances at Seven Dials Playhouse, performed by Theatre Peckham’s rep company.
Date: Sunday 29th May 2022
Times: 4pm and 7pm
Price: £12 | £8 Concession
Pan Afrikan Drumming Class
In Afrikan culture, drums are seen as connectors to the ancestors, and broken drums are therefore symbolic of a broken connection. In repairing drums we are physically repairing our relationship with those who came before us and to whom we owe our existence. This is at the heart of Ukombozii Ancestral Drums: Ukombozii means liberation in the Swahili language and incorporates our desire to heal our Afrikan selves, Ancestral expresses our desire to build healthy respect for our ancestors and Drums are the medium through which we will do both.
Date: Saturday 4th June 2022
Times: 12:30pm – 1:30pm Price £10
Many more events to be added, including free workshops with Mind in Haringey and a Black Queer Playground.
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