Theater News Online
free issue
London Theatre Reviews
NY Theater Reviews
LTN Recommendations
NYTN Recommendations
Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
London Theatre Archives
NY Theater Archives
Latest New York News
Latest London News
NY News Archives
London News Archives
Peter Filichia's Monday Quiz
Dining and Travel
London Theatre Listings
NY Broadway Listings
Off-Broadway Listings
London Tickets
Advertise with us

Subscribe
Renew
Give a Gift


Logo

Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
IF PRETTY HURTS UGLY MUST BE A MUHFUCKA
at Playwrights Horizons

GIRLISH RIVALRY
By SANDY MACDONALD

  Maechi Aharanwa, Jason Bowen, Leland Fowler/ Ph: Joan Marcus

When’s the last time you emerged from a morality play grinning like a fool? You’re likely to come away both chastened and cheered by this exuberant exegesis on the perils of the beauty trap, particularly as it affects young black women. Neophyte playwright Tori Sampson (this is her New York City debut) based her core story on a Nigerian fable and set it in a contemporary “Affreakah Amirrorikah” in which girlish rivalry proves potentially fatal.

Unassailably lovely in form if not always spirit (she can be unintentionally snotty), Akim – graceful Ník? Uche Kadri – inspires envy among a trio of her classmates, each of whom is appealing in her own right (they all get to monologize about their particular assets) but none quite so superficially perfect as her. They’re oblivious to the fact that, as the virtual prisoner of overprotective parents (while also the beneficiary of their particular gene mix), Akim might have problems of her own. In truth, she has only one real friend, “Chorus,” a snarky, sashaying cellphone (Rotimi Agbabiaka) who “dies” dramatically – i.e., loses juice – at a key juncture in the plot.

It would be uncouth to reveal much more, except to note that a magical river goddess will come into play (stirringly embodied by gospel singer Carla R. Stewart) and that in a Huis Clos-like coda the worst offender will get her comeuppance. Or is this closing scene – in which the meanest girl, Massassi (Antoinette Crowe-Legacy), painstakingly applies makeup while giving herself a pep talk – meant as a flashback, a preventative? Interpret it how you will: This is a play that every pre- and adolescent girl would benefit from seeing, as would every adult woman ruefully re-viewing her youth.

 


SUBSCRIBE TO New York Theater News
SUBSCRIBE TO London Theater News

SCHEDULE UPDATES -
Yes, Prime Minister contracts its run, while A Chorus Line expands its own.
POWERHOUSE OF THEATRE - After 11 years as the Almeida Theatre's artistic director, Michael Attenborough is stepping down to focus on directing. 

SONGS FROM THE HEART - Once the Tony-Award winning musical is set to hit London in January.


Wine, Fruit, and Gourmet Gift Baskets.
Privacy Notice   |   Front Page
Copyright © TheaterNewsOnline.com. All Rights Reserved.