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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
AIN’T NO MO
at Public Theater

BLACK EXODUS
By SANDY MACDONALD

  Marchant Davis/ Ph: Joan Marcus

If you’re uncomfortable with the words b*tch and n*gg*r (I have a hard time even typing them), you’re sure to squirm at the outset of Jordan E. Cooper’s high-energy, hyper-parodic Ain’t No Mo, a crash course in American race relations. The play starts off with a rollicking gospel funeral service for “Brother Righttocomplain” conducted by Minister Freeman (Marchant Davis), who bandies the latter epithet with contagious brio, ultimately applying it to the newly elected President Obama.
 
Subsequent scenes hop around. Several take place at an airport check-in desk, where agent Peaches (playwright Cooper himself) wields an eye-roll as fierce as her form-fitting, hot-pink ensemble (costume by Montana Levi Blanco, matching bouffant wig by Cookie Jordan). Peaches is processing the millions of passengers about to embark on a reverse American African diaspora – a journey that’s presumably optional, though the alternative is “extreme racial transmogrification.” In any case, nearly everyone is eager to decamp. When one haute-“bougie” family resists – they have too much to lose – a truculent revenant (powerful Crystal Lucas-Perry) adds some incentive.
 
The scenes speed by with the celerity of skits. Some, like “Real Baby Mamas of the South Side” – featuring hilarious Simone Recasner as a “transitioning” Rachel Dolezal-style wannabe – summon MadTV in its heyday. The play’s pace is so headlong, it may be only in retrospect that you can begin to piece together the composite thesis, which is far from comedic. The laughs just keep coming, though, as it’s going down.

 


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