As the gospel singing soars, Sister Margaret, uncompromising pastor of her Harlem church, has a congregation already in revolt against her hardline leadership. Their resentment escalates with the return of her absentee husband, a trombone-playing sinner, and the wayward conduct of her formerly paragon, musical son. Charges of hypocrisy hang in the air and Margaret’s devout world looks perilously close to falling apart.
Beautifully expressed through the rousing beat of the gospel choir, the community’s sense of love, grief and spiritual survival will be given full voice in the National’s production of James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner (1965). Their church may be humble but their lungs are full with fervour.