For its 44th season opener, The Warehouse Theatre unleashes a timely and tantalizing work that transcends the issues of racism and community in a most clever, poignant and bountiful manner.
While not the first theatre in our area to present Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer and Tony-winning “Clybourne Park” – Hendersonville Community Theatre staged it last year – The Warehouse production is the first professional outing and is enhanced by this stellar cast and acutely-orchestrated direction.
Directly connected to Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” Norris brilliantly sets the action in 1959 as the current owners prepare to vacate their house in an all-white Chicago suburban neighborhood that Hansberry’s protagonists, the Youngers, are purchasing.
Clearly, something is precarious within the home that Russ (J. Richard Nash) and Bev (Miranda Barnett) are selling below market value. Russ languishes in his pajamas with a National Geographic magazine and a half-gallon of Bing Crosby Neapolitan ice cream, while the concerned Bev, a wondrously giddy and fine-tuned Barnett in her first post-maternity appearance since her triumphant turn in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” last year, nervously opines on the derivation of “Neapolitan.” This symbolic tri-color flavor and the subsequent rambling and seemingly innocuous discussion about world cities, the terms for their inhabitants and their sense of place, is no accident.
Nash and Barnett (clad in a “Leave It to Beaver”-era floral dress, apron and doo) handily achieve credible dynamics and the comfortable chemistry of a middle-aged couple that have been married for over two decades and grieving their only son’s death, which Norris unveils slowly over the first act beginning with a visit by their clergyman Jim (a humble, charming Jaryl Draper).
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