With the sound of Stevie Wonder's 'As' slowly wafting into the background, we discover Domingo in the basement of his family home, which has just been sold. An ancient looking record player is perched in a corner and he is surrounded by stacks of old vinyl. Records which hold the key to so many memories he has of himself and his (sometimes outrageous) family. Addressing the audience, he declares that being brought up in Philly meant he grew up in the city which produced an abundance of the finest soul music ever recorded, exclaiming this was the home of "TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia)". Then right on cue the theatre is filled with the sounds of the Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff composed record of the same name by MFSB featuring The Three Degrees, which also served as the theme song to America's weekly exposure to all things cool and funky, TV's 'Soul Train'. This beginning was quite apt as during this period of time Gamble & Huff's record label Philadelphia International brought much pride to the city of brotherly love with the numerous hit records they produced for artists such as The O'Jays, The Jacksons and Teddy Pendergrass.
'A Boy And His Soul' manages to switch from downright laugh out loud funny to sweet and tender with ease, taking the audience on a journey which is not only a delight to watch, as Domingo works the stage, sitting one minute, dancing and prancing the next, thoroughly engaging his audience, but also presenting a richly satisfying feast for the ears. The seamless blend of soul, funk and disco heard is so infectious that the audience (at least to the show I attended) cannot help but go with the flow and sing along to the various numbers. Towards the end of the production a connection is once again made to Philly when Domingo tells us that there is a 'message in the music', which was the tagline for all Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records releases. A wonderful 90 minutes spent in the company of a talented man who delivered a truly, funky, soulful experience.
'A Boy and His Soul' is playing at Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn High Street, London NW6 7JR 4th - 21st September 2013
Here is a 5 minute video clip of writer and star of 'A Boy And His Soul' Colman Domingo talking about the show:
And a recent interview Colman Domingo gave in London: