22 November 2020 / News
Michael Balogun is Delroy
Catch Poel Workshop Alumnus in National Theatre lead role on stream.
Just two years ago Michael Balogun shone in that year’s Poel Workshop. Since then he has appeared in productions of Macbeth at the National Theatre and Chichester Festival, Barber Shop Chronicles at the Royal Exchange, The Dark at Oval House and toured in People, Places and Things.
This autumn he was understudying Giles Terera as Delroy in Clint Dyer and Roy Williams companion piece to Dyer’s Death of England and they were in rehearsal when Terera had to undergoing emergency surgery.
There was no chance of his being recovered in time for the play’s scheduled opening so Michael was promoted to playing the role. Previews and press night were pushed on a week to allow a little more time and the play debuted just before the current lockdown.
Michael gained glowing reviews with his solo performance in this play, which presents a Black working class man searching for truth and confronting his relationship with Great Britain. In a reconfigured, in-the-round Olivier theatre (offering audience safety) he played Delroy “with firecracker energy” said the Evening Standard. But such success had its frustrations – press night was also the last night as theatres once again went dark.
But there is light in the darkness. That premier performance was filmed and the National Theatre is making it available streamed for free on YouTube at 7pm Friday 27 November, then available on demand for 24 hours. The play (with Michael as Delroy) will also be returning in live performance during Spring 2021 with tickets on sale in the New Year.
Michael’s success is particularly poignant in view of his personal story for, as he has told it, he had a difficult childhood and spent his early life in and out of jail. It is outlined here.
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