CHICKEN & BISCUITS
October 20, 2021
A strong cast gamely pushes through the new Broadway show Chicken and Biscuits at the Circle in the Square.
Led by the awesomely talented Norm Lewis and Michael Urie, the ensemble invests 100% of their energy in Douglas Lyons' production directed by Zhailon Levingston.
Set on the day of Baneatta's (Cleo King) father's funeral, and presided over by her husband Reginald Mabry (Lewis), the day is filled with congregating family members.
In a very clever twist, set designer Lawrence E. Moten III converts pews into vanity tables or kitchen cabinets while costume designer Dede Ayite makes some of the funniest and most sophisticated statements through the costumes and topped by Nikiya Mathis' Hair/Wig & Make-up Designs.
With a run-time of 90 minutes, the show experiences a "stop" "start" syndrome due to the number of predictable stories relayed by members of the family suddenly compelled to share long-held secrets.
Perhaps one or two deeply penetrated family stories would have registered more powerfully?
And because the play is stretched thin, cast members are robbed of their chance to really project their wares.
Chicken & Biscuits delivers laughs and some lively dialogue, but in the end, you are hungry to know more about Baneatta's father; the nature of the sister feud between Baneatta and Simone; Baneatta's son's (Devere Rogers) relationship with his white partner (Michael Urie); Simone's beautifully voiced daughter (Aigner Mizzelle) and so on.
The Circle in the Square suits the production and audience participation injects life into the show, so if you go, take along some vocal friends and enjoy.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis