Updated 12/09/2011 12:38 AM
NY1 Theater Review: "Stick Fly"
Condola Rashad makes a notable Broadway debut in Lydia Diamond's "Stick Fly." NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
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“Stick Fly” by Lydia Diamond is an entertaining if talky new play that offers a unique perspective on a black family plagued by dysfunction and race issues. But while it makes for great soap opera, it turns out to be mediocre theatre.
Summering in their lavish Martha's Vineyard home, the well-to-do LeVay family is an accomplished bunch. Joseph the demanding father is a neurosurgeon. His son Flip is a plastic surgeon and the slacker in the family, Kent is a novelist with three graduate degrees.
But when the sons bring home their respective girlfriends, the dynamic shifts and their American Dream life reveals cracks. The enlightened clan has issues it seems with race, class and sex; and as much as the characters claim to rise above them, they can't seem to escape some cultural bigotry. Metaphorically they are all stick flies, explained as the scientific practice of studying live flies by gluing them to sticks.
Diamond is generous to her actors, giving them lots of meat and humor to sink their talented chops into. But while she seems intent on shattering stereotypes, they're also being re-enforced. The result is a diverting play that ultimately feels over-wrought and over-written.
The production directed by Kenny Leon is fast-paced with a dynamite beachhouse set. The actors handle Diamond's snappy dialogue with ease. Ruben Santiago-Hudson finds ample nuance as the callously dominating father. But it's Condola Rashad in her Broadway debut as the put-upon housekeeper's daughter who stands out. Moment to moment she delivers one of the freshest and most honest portrayals of the year.
To the show's credit, it's never dull, but amid all the commotion and numerous revelations over two and a half hours, the play doesn't seem to go anywhere. “Stick Fly” is itself stuck in melodrama.