A Lesson Before Dying
from New York Magazine | reviewed by John Simon | 2000
A novel dealing with inner conflicts -- chiefly the teacher's -- is hard to translate into dialogue and stage action. But Linney largely pulls it off, thanks also to Kent Thompson's direction, Marjorie Bradley Kellogg's design, and the flawless acting of Stephen Bradbury, Aaron Harpold, Tracey A. Leigh, John Henry Redwood, and Beatrice Winde. As Grant and Jefferson, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Jamahl Marsh are irresistible. Melodrama and tearjerker, perhaps, but rousing theater for sure.
from The Village Voice | reviewed by Michael Feingold | 2000
Jamahl Marsh and Isiah Whitlock Jr., as prisoner and teacher, fill the leading roles strongly; wonderful Beatrice Winde gives the godmother riveting determination; John Henry Redwood makes the local minister a remarkable figure, a pious walrus of Dickensian dimensions; and Aaron Harpold turns the (inevitably sympathetic) white assistant jailer into a believable human being,
Shots Echoing from the Past
from The NY Daily News | reviewed by Joe Dziemianowicz | 2006
Can you ever fully know another person? Can knowledge be a dangerous thing? If someone snooped into your past, would you pass the white-glove test? Those are just a few questions Stephen Belber raises in his intelligent and expertly acted play "A Small, Melodramatic Story," presented by the Labyrinth Theater Company at the Public Theater.
Rotten Dates, Then Fig Leaf
from NY Daily News | reviewed by Howard Kissel | 2002
In real life, bad things sometimes happen to good people. Not, however, in Christopher Shinn's "Four."
"Four," which transferred from the Worth Street Theater, focuses on two teenagers. One is a 16-year-old boy, oddly named June, who has set up a date via the Internet with an older man, Joe, to whom he hopes to lose his virginity.
The other is Abigayle, who is both attracted to and repelled by Dexter, a goofy high-school jock.
Subtle Seductions go 'Four' for 4
from NY Daily News | reviewed by Robert Dominguez | 2001
A sad, subtle work set on a hot Fourth of July night in Hartford, "Four" places a quartet of characters in parallel stories. While the intertwining tales center on the sexual dynamics between two couples - specifically, the sudden shifts of power that occur during the gentle art of seduction - Shinn also deftly touches on issues of racial identity without making them seem forced.
You Can Count on 'Four'
from New York Post | reviewed by Donald Lyons | 2001
Isiah Whitlock Jr. is Joe, a wise, witty black professor of English who arranges to meet in a parking lot with a young white boy called June, played by Keith Nobbs. Joe is assured and dogmatic, a cultural conservative; June is a conflicted rebel who loves his parents.
They discuss cars and TV shows and great American novels as Joe drives them around the Hartford night.
from New York Magazine | reviewed by Peter Rainer | 2003
Pierced and ringleted, with red-highlighted pigtails, April (Katie Holmes) lives in a grungy Lower East Side walk-up with her devoted boyfriend, Bobby (Derek Luke, from Antwone Fisher), who encourages her to reconcile with her estranged family and cook a turkey dinner. When her oven breaks down, she is forced to find another in her building. As she implores her neighbors door-to-door, we get a deft cross section of its inhabitants, including a rowdy, affectionate black couple (marvelously played by Lillias White and Isiah Whitlock Jr.), a Chinese family, and a fastidious bachelor (Sean Hayes).
Pieces of April
from EricSnider.com | reviewed by Eric Snider
"Pieces of April" is all about Thanksgiving, though, and it's all about it in a loving, funny and genuinely poignant way. The story is unfolded so carefully and subtly that the sensitivity of it all sneaks up on you: You thought you were watching a low-key comedy about Turkey Day mishaps, but really it was a family drama all along.