5 reasons why you should see A Strange Loop

Posted on 17 March 2023

Since its 2019 debut, the boundary-pushing musical A Strange Loop has captivated audiences and received glowing praise from industry heavyweights such as RuPaul and Billy Porter

At its heart is Usher, a young, Black, queer writer battling inner demons and struggling to establish himself in the theatre world. The show takes us on a profound exploration of his desires, identity and instincts, all while offering an electric blend of music, raw emotion, and quick-fire wit. 

A Strange Loop is a powerful and thought-provoking production that awakens an endless sense of possibility in the audience and in the words of Jennifer Hudson, "You do not want to miss this!" So, here are five reasons why you should book tickets for A Strange Loop at the Barbican today!

The message

A Strange Loop explores themes of self-love, acceptance, and the transformative power of storytelling in the face of adversity. As Usher grapples with his identity and role in the world, he comes to the realisation that only he possesses the power to define himself. Through Usher's experiences, we are challenged to examine our own biases and preconceptions of ourselves and the world around us. Ultimately, we are encouraged to embrace the richness and complexity of the human experience and celebrate the beauty of our individuality!

The music

The music of A Strange Loop is a sweet blend of gospel, R&B, and soul-infused melodies that reflect Usher's mind and heart. Each song is a work of art in its own right, from the poignant 'Memory Song' to the haunting 'Precious Little Dream / AIDS Is God's Punishment'. The music complements the story perfectly and elevates it to new heights, with every note striking a chord and immersing the audience in the emotional intensity of Usher's story.

The characters

The characters of A Strange Loop are complex and utterly captivating. Usher is a relatable character, a person struggling with self-doubt, depression and a need for validation. His story is heartbreaking and inspiring, and as we watch him confront his inner demons and reclaim his power, we can't help but root for him and see his pain reflected within. 

Usher’s innermost thoughts are personified in the musical by an ensemble of six performers. The thoughts (characters) represent his deepest fears, insecurities, and desires. The unique use of an ensemble as a portrayal of one's thoughts promotes the acceptance of all aspects of oneself.

The humour

Despite grappling with heavy themes such as identity, race, sexuality, and mental health, Usher's witty one-liners provide moments of lightness and a necessary balance to the more solemn parts of the musical. The humour is biting, irreverent and clever, exploring the absurdities of the protagonist's daily life and the challenges he faces in a satirical and often dark way. It pokes fun at stereotypes, societal norms, and the entertainment industry itself, making for a clever and emotionally resonant experience.

The representation

A Strange Loop provides a platform for underrepresented voices and celebrates the experiences of Black and queer people in a way that is rarely seen on stage. By centring on the struggles of a Black and queer protagonist, the musical explores issues that are often sidelined and ignored in mainstream media, such as the intersection of race, sexuality and mental health. The show is a powerful statement about the importance of representation and the need for diverse stories to be told, whilst offering audiences the opportunity to broaden their understanding of the world and the diverse experiences in it.

A Strange Loop tickets are available now!

The winner of every Best New Musical award in New York, A Strange Loop defies expectations. This must-see show guarantees to transform the way you think about theatre and will leave you feeling forever changed! Join Usher on this epic coming-of-age journey.

By Kevin Thomas

From as early as I can recall, writing has always been my passion. Being able to combine this with my love for theatre has been a rewarding and exhilarating experience. I truly believe that there is magic in seeing a story brought to life on stage, and this is what I would like to promote to audiences.