Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A family affair: Jackie Sibblies Drury's "Fairview" at Soho Rep


Jackie Sibblies Drury's Fairview--now in a mostly sold-out run through July 22 at Soho Rep--is a high-speed autowalk masquerading as a clever ensemble play about an affluent Black family. It rolls out over a solid two hours. You embark within what appears to be safe, familiar sitcom-land--generically appealing, mainstream characters working through daily banalities and minor disputes while preparing a dinner party--and wind up whizzing through unsettling soap opera territory. I won't spoil any of Sibblies Drury's brilliant strategies and surprises. You absolutely should not go knowing what you're getting yourself into. Please, if you haven't already, don't read anything else that has been written about this play!

I will just say that, ultimately, Sibblies Drury has crafted this play with two distinct audiences in mind. I belong to one of them, and I felt duly amused and nourished.

The actors are vivacious, with standout turns by MaYaa Boateng (teenager Keisha, eventually calling b.s. on everything) and Roslyn Ruff (glamorous, meddlesome aunt Jasmine). The actors' deft timing and overall charisma benefit not only from Sarah Benson's direction but also Raja Feather Kelly's playful choreography which infuses and gives life to the entire proceedings. This work would not be the same without the way it claims and defines space and mobilizes bodies.

Performers: MaYaa Boateng, Charles Browning, Hannah Cabell, Natalia Payne, Jed Resnick, Luke Robertson, Roslyn Ruff and Heather Alicia Simms

Set Design: Mimi Lien
Costume Design: Montana Levi Blanco
Lighting Design: Amith Chandrashaker
Sound Design: Mikaal Sulaiman

Fairview continues through July 22. With the exception of July 8th's 7:30pm show ("99-cent Sunday"), where tickets must be purchased at the door, performances are sold out. For information, click here.

Soho Rep
46 Walker Street (between Broadway and Church), Manhattan

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