Riff Raff | Angel Island | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Riff Raff Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 30 2011

Laurence Fishburne's 1995 play has one chief strength: it isn't Once in the Life, Fishburne's critically panned film based on the same material. In the stage version, at least there's a reason for the action to remain in the single, dilapidated tenement room where two half-brothers are holed up after a drug deal gone bad. Fishburne writes in a torrent of circular, heated dialogue punctuated by geysers of emotional outburst. Like the movie, this Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company production shines powerful acting wattage on dull material. Eric Sherman-Christ hits a comfortable stride as the brothers' smooth-talking friend Tony, who may or may not be their key to escape. A scene where Tony recites a long jailhouse poem brings the movie to a screeching halt but captivates here, under Richard Cotovsky's direction. --Keith Griffith

Price: $18-$22

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