Leslie Lee’s classic of African American theater has its premiere in the Midwest decades after it opened in New York—and it’s about time. The play is tightly-written, honest, moving and often extremely funny in its depiction of a middle-class black family in the 1970s. Director Ron OJ Parson carries out the writer’s intention to let the audience feel emotionally included in the story, and the acting is superb all around, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams in particular stealing the show in the grandmother’s flashbacks (which work beautifully with the rest of the plot). The only major shortcoming is that while the play itself is a complex scathing satire, this production is almost too easy to sit through—for example, making a white man whose presence in the life of a black woman is both multifaceted and sinister comes across as a ridiculous fop, allowing the audience simply to laugh uncritically at him. There are several moments of this kind where it’s too easy to avoid the discomfort that Lee intended. Ultimately, though, the show still has great power and insight and is not to be missed. (Monica Westin)
At Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis, (773)753-4472. This production is now closed.