I didn’t think it was possible to laugh or to enjoy a play more than with Bad Jews, the last comedy show I watched at Studio Theatre back in December. Bad Jews centered on a dysfunctional Jewish family and the drama that ensues following the patriarch’s death. The wildly successful play’s return engagement at Studio was extended for several months, and many of my friends also saw the play, laughing loudly at the inappropriate and acute humor.
Then, I sat down for Between Riverside & Crazy, and I laughed, I cried, and I felt something (a rarity for this not-so-sensitive Bitch.) I’ve seen quite a lot of theatre in my life—I have an addiction to Broadway and attend nearly every show in town at Studio and Woolly Mammoth Theatre. And I can say with assurance this was an outstanding show—worthy of both the standing ovation and the 2015 Pulitzer Prize it received.
This in-your-face, dark comedy centers on an obstinate ex-cop, Walter, played masterfully by Frankie Faison, an actor who is known for his work on HBO’s The Wire. The character is simultaneously strong and stubborn, yet vulnerable and kind as he faces eviction from the rent-controlled New York apartment that he shares with his ex-con son and a ragtag host of characters.
The plays narrative of Walter’s struggles touches on some poignant issues: the push-and-pull that comes through gentrification in major U.S. cities, and the ongoing relationship between law enforcement, police brutality, and black men. Sitting in the audience, you feel these pains through your connection with Walter—it was impossible not to.
The humor and the sadness felt by the audience were drawn from facets of the human experience—love, loss, pain, and a lack of justice—communicated beautifully through incredible acting and a compelling, timely storyline.
Between Riverside and Crazy is playing at Studio Theatre through the end of the month, February 28. Tickets are between $20-$70.
Last but not least, Studio Theatre serves wine in the theatre (for $9) in branded sippy cups—I have a stack in my cabinet prepared and ready to go for the next show.
BitchBiz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with Studio Theatre. While this article was written independently by Bitches Who Brunch, we do receive compensation from the theater.