Sunday, October 25, 2015


Photo: Joan Marcus
My colleagues Wendy and Liz generally offered praise for Robert O'Hara's Barbecue, which runs through next Sunday at The Public's Newman Theater (read their thoughts here and here). In keeping with their earlier reviews, mine will be somewhat cagey, as I agree that knowing too much about this play before going in may spoil the experience. However, unlike my co-writers, I am not going to enthusiastically recommend this play, which too often feels like a Tyler Perry movie without the Christian subtext. O'Hara may have set out to skewer the ways in which Hollywood/Broadway/the memoir industry prey on the sad, drug-addled lives of the downtrodden, but the finished product is neither profound nor particularly interesting. The large cast work their butts off but can't overcome the fact that the play isn't as funny the author thinks -- and I had a hard time believing that many of the actors, playing siblings, were family. (Most of them seemed like they'd just met moments before taking the stage.) Kent Gash's production is, oddly, too slow and too short. I wanted to like Barbecue, but like a burger that stays on the grill a few minutes too long, it left an odd and unsatisfying taste in my mouth. -- by Cameron Kelsall

[Member tickets, mid-orchestra]

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