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This article was published 18/7/2017 (310 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
If there’s a truly must-see show at this year’s Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, it’s Josephine.
Orlando, Fla.'s Tymisha Harris is transcendent as the incomparable African-American star Josephine Baker in this stunning 75-minute cabaret biography by Tod Kimbro. Harris’s source material is rich, to be sure: Baker lived an extraordinary life. She was a legendary entertainer who made her career in France, was a civil-rights activist, a Second World War spy and a mother of 12. But it was by no means an easy life. Baker's story is punctuated by loss, sacrifice, discrimination, racism and the sting of constant rejection by her home country.
Harris brings Baker back to the stage with great affection and charm, painting a loving, nuanced portrait of a hard-working, ambitious woman who said yes to everything (sometimes to her detriment), and longed to be “more than just colour and fantasy put together — more than just another black ass put on display.” Through dance, theatre and song, Harris becomes Baker, and the audience is left spellbound. Even the costume changes are a source of magic. (The historical detail is also impressive, right down to Baker’s infamous banana girdle.)
Harris will make you laugh, but she will also rip your heart out. Her performance of Strange Fruit is absolutely gutting.
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