3 short theater reviews: 'Bullets Over Broadway,' 'Native Son,' 'Some Velvet Morning'

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Arizona Republic

‘Native Son’ is raw, relentless and unforgiving


There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide in “Native Son,” Nambi E. Kelley’s stage adaptation of the controversial 1940 novel by Richard Wright. Not for Bigger Thomas, the young black man whose descent into murder holds a mirror up to the relentless racism that stripped him of hope and dignity. And not for theatergoers, who can neither excuse his crimes nor deny his humanity and are thus left without even the solace of righteous indignation. It’s a powerful, painful statement that Stray Cat Theatre and director Ron May make in a dynamic production that will leave you breathless. Micah Jondel DeShazer’s visceral performance brings Bigger to desperate, sweating life even as the staging takes the audience inside his head for a swirling, surrealistic retelling that slips back and forth through time at whiplash speed. The strong ensemble also features Alan Johnson as Black Rat — Bigger’s inner voice — and Brittney Watson as an idealistic debutante whose patronizing devotion to progressive politics will make you squirm.

Bottom line: (click below to read entire review)