New York | 1h 20m | Already closed

Sancho: An Act of Remembrance

From 6 critic and 22 member reviews
Members say: Intelligent, Relevant, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

About the show

National Black Theatre and Classical Theatre of Harlem present RSC actor Paterson Joseph's solo play about Charles “Sancho” Ignatius—composer, social satirist, general man of refinement. More…

He was born on a slave ship but never a slave, was immortalized by the great English painter Thomas Gainsborough, and in 1774 became the first British-African to cast a vote. 'Sancho' examines this curious, daringly determined life and seeks to cast new light on the often misunderstood narratives of African-British experience.

1h 20m | Already closed | National Black Theatre (Harlem)

Plays to See

"A joy to experience. Joseph's Sancho is overflowing with charisma, and sometimes it's hard to tell if it's Joseph or Sancho who has the audience wrapped around one finger. Joseph writes and plays him with such vivacity...Wonderfully written and masterfully acted. A reminder of the power of theater to teach us of the incredible people who came before us, left out of our textbooks, but still with stories that make us laugh and cry. A show that you just won't want to miss." Full Review

Chicago Critic

for a previous production "Paterson Joseph is as charming as his subject, and is also the author of this nuanced portrait of a black man who rose from slavery in the heart of London...It’s remarkable how Joseph nearly plays two characters: the younger, brasher, and older, wiser Sancho, and how he is equally convincing and magnetic as each...For Americans, the story is a reminder of the importance of the right to vote, and the dignity intrinsic in exercising it." Full Review


for a previous production "Joseph’s true goal...was casting a little light on the history of free blacks in the West. In this he succeeds winningly, bringing a kind of humble audacity to role of Sancho while keeping the tone buoyant, never didactic. It’s a lovingly and masterfully crafted performance...The captivating quality of the performance and the inherently interesting story made me want more of it – more story...'Sancho' is less a deep portrait than a tantalizing glimpse of the life and times of its subject." Full Review

The Reviews Hub

for a previous production "It is, first and foremost, a captivating story expertly told by Joseph...He talks to the audience as to an interested stranger, all flashing smiles and half-mocking boasts. But shining through this winning exterior is a grit and an emotional depth that comes to the fore...It is testament to Joseph’s versatility that he manages to cram a host of idiosyncratic supporting characters...'Sancho' is undoubtedly more than an entertaining tale...The piece has an undoubted contemporary relevance." Full Review

Broad Street Review

for a previous production "Joseph’s energetic portrayal, as directed by Simon Godwin, rejects the comforts Sancho enjoyed as a darling of high society...What shines forth in 'Sancho: An Act of Remembrance' is not just a fascinating, often overlooked historical character, but Paterson Joseph’s commitment to reveal and celebrate the forgotten Brits of African descent." Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production "The play bears the marks of Mr. Joseph’s research, and he has clearly absorbed the style of Sancho’s writing, though he takes care to make it playable...What’s here is much more episodic than dramatic...The few moments of action feel contrived...Yet if the monologue Mr. Joseph has written isn’t quite the costume drama he intended, he has created a detailed portrait of a man who was an interested witness to the events of his day and who helped to shape them." Full Review

Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you are interested in learning more about a little known but extremely interesting man.

Don't see it if you do not like one man shows that are both entertaining and informative!

Clever, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You are intrigued by Black British history and the first Briton of African Heritage to vote. You know and love the excellent Paterson Joseph

Don't see it if You aren't interested in black history, one-man shows, or interactive talkbacks.

Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Dizzying, Important

See it if you welcome being educated about history through clever and profound writing, in a spirited performance by a masterful, enchanting actor.

Don't see it if you have problems with heavily accented dialog, have entrenched ideas about uncomfortable aspects of history, or dislike solo performances.

Also Don't miss this extraordinary show, which is ostensibly about one man'... Read more Read less

Ambitious, exquisite writing, painful, funny, powerful

See it if You want to see a classically trained British actor telling an important and little-known story about the son of slaves-turned-gentleman.

Don't see it if You shy away from the painful truth of slavery and/or do not like period dramas. 18th C setting.

Also Paterson Joseph's one-man show, his first effort as playwright, is ext... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if masterful acting & writing by a craftsman. draws you in to his imagination where a simple white scarf can be an ocean or a sash of royalty.

Don't see it if you voted for Trump

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Profound

See it if you want to explore the African-British experienvce

Don't see it if you do not love truth

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Riveting

See it if you are interested in the contrast of slavery in England and the United States and you're interested in the history of servitude.

Don't see it if You have a short attention span and would be frustrated by long monologues, especially ones spoken in 'ole' English and with a strong accent

Absorbing, Ambitious, Relevant, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if You delight in one-man virtuoso performances, are interested in relevant theater, you've never been to National Black Theater, enjoy passion

Don't see it if Not interested in relevant plays that require you to think, respond and empathize; don't want to understand racism and how to fight it

Also This performance was riveting and the performer ranged from wry humor ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Educational, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy storytelling based in history, learning about the African-British experience, seeing a very well researched production.

Don't see it if Are not interested in history, need a large fancy production, have difficulty with accent

Also This was engaging and educational. It held my attention. This theater ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You enjoy British history and one-man shows. You want to learn about people your textbooks ignored.

Don't see it if You need dramatic action. You dislike period dramas or stripped down staging.

Absorbing, Great writing, Resonant

See it if You're interested in history and the stories of people who aren't usually recognized.

Don't see it if You don't want to listen to your narrative, you don't like one-man shows.

Also I actually saw this in a previous run at BAM with the same performer (... Read more Read less

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Enchanting, Clever, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy well-acted historical pieces that include some audience interaction

Don't see it if you don't like solo shows especially those dealing with tough subjects.

Relevant, Topical, educational, inspiring

See it if you'd like to see an RSC actor bring a little-known but relevant historical character to life; if you're interested in racial justice.

Don't see it if you dislike historical plays or one-man shows.

Also As a true labor of love, Royal Shakespeare Company actor Paterson Jose... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting

See it if vExtraordinary play about an Enlishman who goes far beyond the boundaries of the average black person during this era.His story was indeed r

Don't see it if if you don't like one person shows about a person of color and their experience.

Also iveting.He was funny,insightful and was downright interesting.I have s... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Relevant, Must see

See it if you love history being told in a lighthearted way.

Don't see it if You don't like plays that have a historical theme.

Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you love well written one man shows about someone you know nothing about. Great experience in a special NYC theater. My first visit.

Don't see it if you are looking for a mindless big Broadway show. The theater is a historicHarlem venue. It is easy to get to by bus and subway.

Great acting, Disappointing, Intelligent, Ambitious, Research-based

See it if You are interested in a profile of a black Englishman and his mark on history.

Don't see it if you want a theatrical piece that doesn't bury the lead.

Also I wanted to like this more than I did. The performance is so big that ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Muddled

See it if You are interested in history and want to know more about black people in 18th century England

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows, or lots of exposition

Funny, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy one man shows dealing with British themed monologue-type comedies and you want to try a nice venue in, it’s quiet uptown, Harlem

Don't see it if You hate one man shows, have a short attention span, require an elaborate set,have a limited imagination or don’t want to travel to Harlem

Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy a one man show where you feel like you are at a wild lecture. Whatever that means.

Don't see it if You are looking for a show that makes sense.

Also At times the show was difficult to follow, the actor was jumping aroun... Read more Read less

Charismatic, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if Such vibrancy on stage. Though this one man show jumped around, it had me engaged the entire time. Inspiring

Don't see it if You don’t like one man shows

During previews
Enlightening, British african pov, Resonant, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if African history with a British accent, delightful Paterson Joseph in solo turn, audience participation, post show talk back intrigue you

Don't see it if solo shows, black history, British accents, lisps, going to Harlem, would keep you away