Michael Fatogun and Doreene Blackstock in Foxes

Theatre 503, London
Dexter Flanders’ tender debut about a fractured family shows the tensions and compromises faced by Black gay men

Through the story of one beautiful, fractured family, this debut play by Dexter Flanders shows how complex, and at times how devastating, the Black gay experience can be. Shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon award, Foxes is a deeply moving story of faith, family and what’s deemed forgivable.

Everything is happening too quickly and all at once for Daniel (Michael Fatogun). When his girlfriend gets pregnant, her family kick her out, and his take her in with a love that seems unconditional. But when pushed in different directions, he finds his mum’s acceptance only goes so far.

Flanders’ characters are vibrantly authentic. Every argument is nuanced, every decision difficult. In turns, each of the cast are heartbreaking. Directed by James Hillier, Fatogun as Daniel is gentle, fierce, strong. Then in front of his mum (Doreene Blackstock), he shrinks, cracked apart by her fury. Blackstock is a stunning presence, tender and ferocious at once, unable to face what her son is trying to tell her.

What resonates strongest from the text comes from Leon (Anyebe Godwin), Daniel’s best friend. His fear of the repercussions from coming out as a gay Black man, and of how much it could ruin, is palpable. With gut-punch honesty, this play is a vivid reminder: for many, even in London, coming out is still not the best or safest option.

There is such tenderness within this small domestic drama. Such full-bodied characters and smartly written scenes. Though it loses its way a little towards the end, feeling like it’s finished multiple times over, the very last scene is shattering. This is a story of what you give up to get by. It deserves a bigger stage.

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