"It's like being at a crossroads - a point of absolute, unequivocal change. It makes the blood rush."
The play is set in the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, in 1833. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has collapsed on stage whilst playing Othello. A young black American actor, Ira Aldridge, has been asked to take over the role. But, as the public riot in the streets, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theatre?
Written by the 2012 Most Promising Playwright (Evening Standard Awards) Lolita Chakrabarti, Red Velvet uses imagined experiences based on the often-forgotten, but true, story of Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor who, in the nineteenth century, built an incredible reputation on the stages of London and Europe.
It premiered at the Tricycle Theatre in October 2012. Ira Aldridge was played by the Oliver award-winning Adrian Lester, who was named best actor for this role in the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards.