Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Barbecue, Robert O'Hara's twisty, turny play at the Public, is a show I don't want to write extensively about for fear of giving any of the many Big Reveals away. So I won't say much of anything at all, except that the show makes me even sorrier than I was before to have missed Bootycandy last year. And that with Barbecue, O'Hara says a number of clever, layered things about race, class, representation, and the media. And that the play is very, very funny. And that the cast is, to a one, committed, appealing, and probably all loading up big-time on vitamin B and throat lozenges, what with all the wackiness and antics and herbal cigarettes and shouting (not to mention the occasional tasing). And that there is nothing more wonderful--or, goddamn it, more rare--than watching a play that treats all of its characters pretty equally--even if that means with equal amounts of snark--while sitting amid a truly diverse audience, the members of which seemed to take as much pleasure in the play as I did. Why is that so fucking hard?
I have a few--um--bones to pick about Barbecue: even with some of the Big Reveals in mind, the first act felt a little shrill, and in general, making the poor and uneducated the butt of extended jokes--however equally applied thouse jokes are--seems pretty cheap. But the ensemble work here is excellent--so is the direction and the set, which I dismissed as fairly dull at first and then somehow fell for midway through. And for my quibbles, the play's a genuine hoot. So if I happen to land on the most brilliant, deep, moving, and paradigm-shifting show at some point during my theatergoing adventures, I'll be sure to let you know. Meanwhile, Barbecue will do just fine.