Just Say Nommo | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Just Say Nommo

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Just Say Nommo, Nommo Gathering Black Writers Collective, at Kennedy-King College. Billed as a "slammin', hard-hitting sketch comedy revue," Just Say Nommo, directed by Sheldon P. Lane, is surprisingly tenuous. Though a few sketches approach the unblinking sharpness that makes for good political and social satire, most of them are too moralistic to be funny, and they either end before the comedy is established or keep going long after they lose their edge.

The biggest problem is that the 12-person ensemble--performing material by Donna Beasley, Veronica Bohanan, Stephanie Gadlin Shakur, Toure Muhammad, and Charles Willet Jr.--tries to jam in too many ideas. In one promising sketch, President Bush is going to lose his "public housing" because of a new law evicting public-housing tenants who have visitors (such as the Bush daughters) found with drugs. But Nommo also throws in references to Kofi Annan, the U.S. failure to sign international treaties, Jeb Bush, the 2000 election, Al Gore, Zimbabwe, the death penalty, and police violence in New York. That's enough material for a whole show. Just Say Nommo would be much more successful if its 17 sketches, which now take an hour and 40 minutes, were culled to the best hour. There are several good individual performances and a few standout concepts, but overall this material needs to be reduced and reshaped.

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