Black Lives Matter: Absorbing Drama

“The man’s dead.  I can’t bring him back”

Boyd Sully

June Carryl as LaRhonda Parker (Photo: Laurie Sparham)

The play starts with a man in a suit, Boyd Sully (John Colella) anxiously awaiting in an interview room with no windows.  Enter LaRhonda Parker (played by the playwright herself, June Carryl) and both are excited to greet each other until he offers to hug her and she has to say “No!” because it would not be right.  Then they remember why they are there instead of why they are friends. 

Both are police employees, Sully is white, a Sergeant in the Los Angeles Police Force and Parker is an African American detective carrying out an administrative investigation into the death just 24 hours before of David Mason, a black American veteran of the war in Iraq who had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Sully admits that he shot and killed David Mason but Parker is there to uncover the facts of the case.

Sully is full of bonhomie, recalling when he first met Parker on a fishing expedition with her now husband Bennie.  We do not meet Bennie but hear that he was Sully’s partner in the police force until Bennie Parker retired.  Sully says to her that he voted for Barack Obama as if to claim non racist credentials. Parker digs at the inconsistencies in the events leading up to the shooting of Mason. 

June Carryl as LaRhonda Parker and John Colella as Boyd Sully (Photo: Laurie Sparham )

Why was he stopped?  Who was following whom?  Did Sully not notice the victim was wearing camouflage trousers indicating his military history?  The interview gets more and more tense with Sully repeatedly coming back to memories of his time with LaRhonda and her husband to try to defuse his guilt and earn leniency.  Parker however has a damning photograph of Sully in civilian clothes which requires explanation.  Sully too has a revelation. 

Blue  is very finely written and I liked Michael Matthews’ direction of what could have been a static interview with two sitting opposite each other, especially with the audience on four sides.  There are of course questions about why Parker did not immediately withdraw from the interview when she realised Sully was her husband’s partner and a friend.  We are left to guess at Bennie’s racial heritage.

Parker too will lose her cool professionalism as details emerge about Sully’s behaviour in pursuing Mason.  It is no accident that Blue won a Fringe First in Edinburgh as the writing and actors are totally credible.

The killing of George Floyd alerted the world to “Black Lives Matter” and Sully raises what he believes in as a policeman and the issue of “Blue Lives Matter” too.  The end of the play is a chilling list of those killed recently by policemen in America and an endictment of the loss of public confidence in the police acting in the public’s best interests.

Blue is a timely play and despite the smaller numbers who die at the hands of the police in Britain, one which also has relevance here.  When West End theatres are charging prices in the high two hundreds you can see this play at Seven Dials Playhouse for between £10 and £25.  So go for an evening of meaningful drama!

June Carryl as LaRhonda Parker and John Colella as Boyd Sully (Photo: Laurie Sparham)

Production Notes

Written by June Carryl

Directed by Michael Matthews



June Carryl

John Colella


Director: Michael Matthews

Designer:  Carla Goodman

Sound Designer: Chris Moscatiello


Running Time: One hour without an interval

Booking to 30th March 2024

On 18th and 27th March there

will be two Black Out night

performances for a black identifying audience.




Seven Dials Playhouse

1A Tower Street 

Covent Garden 

London WC2H 9NP

Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge

at the Seven Dials Playhouse

on 8th March 2024