TThrough the story of a beautiful fractured family, this first play by Dexter Flanders shows how complex and sometimes devastating the black gay experience can be. Shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Prize, Foxes is a deeply moving story of faith, family and what is considered forgivable.
Everything happens too quickly and suddenly for Daniel (Michael Fatogun). When his girlfriend gets pregnant, his family chases him away and he welcomes her with a love that seems unconditional. But when pushed in different directions, he finds that his mother’s acceptance doesn’t go any further.
The characters from Flanders are vibrantly authentic. Every argument is nuanced, every decision difficult. Each of the actors in turn is heartbreaking. Directed by James Hillier, Fatogun en Daniel is gentle, fierce, strong. Then in front of his mom (Doreene Blackstock), he shrinks, broken by his fury. Blackstock is an amazing presence, tender and fierce at the same time, unable to face what her son is trying to say to her.
What resonates most in the text comes from Leon (Anyebe Godwin), Daniel’s best friend. His fear of the repercussions of coming out as a gay black man, and all that it could ruin, is palpable. With rock-solid honesty, this piece is a stark reminder: for many, even in London, coming out is still not the best or the safest option.
There is such tenderness in this little domestic drama. Such full-bodied characters and cleverly written scenes. Although he gets lost a bit towards the end, feeling like he’s finished a few times, the very last scene is heartbreaking. It’s the story of what you give up to get out of it. He deserves a bigger stage.