Monday, January 30, 2017

CT Theater Review: Sunset Baby -- TheaterWorks

Photo: Lanny Nagler
Sunset Baby
By Dominique Morrisseau
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas
TheaterWorks
Through Feb. 19

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
The estranged relationship between Nina (Brittany Bellizeare) and her political activist father, Kenyatta (Tony Todd.) Nina's mother has left her a series of love letters written to her by Kenyatta and publishers are offering big bucks to put them into book form. Kenyatta wants them too, but for more sentimental reasons. She avoids having to deal with her father, but her lover Damon (Carlton Byrd) may have his own motives for trying to bring the two together. Reality is blurred as the perspectives of the characters overlap.

What Are the Highlights?
Excellent performances and tight direction by Reginald L. Douglas keep our attention. Morriseau mixes raw and strong language with poetic thought and varies technique by having Kenyatta step out of the action to deliver soliloquies, but more to himself than to the audience.

What Are the Lowlights?
We never quite warm up to any of the characters. They are flawed in relationships with each other, but we never are convinced they really want to make them work and aren't looking out for their own best interests. The play bypasses at least two natural ending spots and seems to not know how to wrap itself up.

Additional Information:
Todd is from Hartford and is a graduated of UConn. 

Additional credits:
Alexander Woodward (Set Design), Karen Perry (Costume Design), Rob Denton (Lighting Design), and Julian Evans (Sound Design).

Sunset Baby runs through Feb. 19 at TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl St., Hartford. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm. Tickets are $15-$65: theaterworkshartford.org; 860-527-7838.


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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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