The Top of Bravery (review)
THE PLAY: Bert Williams was a prominent black entertainer on Vaudeville and Broadway. What was originally created as a one-man show has been expanded with a cast of 4 to tell the story of his career and the frustrations he encountered because of his race.
THE PRODUCTION: This production revolves around the extraordinary work of Jeremy V. Morris, who plays Williams and also wrote the script (which is sometimes unfocused). He’s surrounded by a trio of equally skilled, superb performers. Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Waites has creatively staged the show in a highly presentational style with tight timing and theatrical flair. The first act features a broad approach with exaggerated characters, while Act Two becomes darker. Although not without power, the resulting intense introspection sacrifices some of the narrative thrust. The expressive, often elegant choreography by Dr. E. Gaynell Sherrod expands beyond dance moves into the overall creation of interesting stage pictures. Dennis Williams’ expansive set features classical elements, props and placards bordering the sides. The lighting by Geno Brantley is sometimes dramatic, but at other times misses illuminating the actors. Cora Delbridge’s costumes are attractive and appropriate. (Running time: 2:23)\ (Running time: 2:23)
THE POINT: This biography combines outstanding performances, creative staging and political statements into an entertaining and informative package.
(4 / 5)
LISTEN TO MY REVIEW (as aired on WRIR)