INOLA’S VIEW of the Midtown International Theatre Festival Part II

Review of
Good Company, Super, Dead for Breakfast, Sons of Johnny Johnson
16th Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival
Davenport Theatre – Black Box Stage
354 West 45th Street, New York, NY
On Sunday, July 19, 2015

“Good Company” by S. Karlan, directed by Christian Andrews; starring Gregory Davis, Ruya Koman, and Brian Kelly.

Good Company resonated to the audience in many ways on stage. A middle-age man convinces a young and gorgeous woman to become his paid companion without thinking about what excess baggage my follow her. His one-track mind and his “slush” funds put a wrench in his short-lived fantasy after his companion’s pimp showed up at his home. He gets more than what he bargained for in his convoluted arrangement.

The writer’s message allows the audience to realize that money can’t buy us everything. Companionship is one of these things that money can’t buy. It’s not attainable on a long-term basis when it is all about a monetary incentive. In life, most people live the lives they know or familiar with. Branching out from their comfort zones can become hazardous to their well being in many ways. Good Company serves as a scared-straight play to help people with unlimited funds to stay in their lane and avoid the collisions of life.

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SUPER! “Super” by Aaron Michael Krueger, directed by Lexi Fennell Erare; starring Adam Keller, Derek Speedy, Jessica Dorcey, Keith Milke, Stephanie Estep, Paul Mitchell, Alex Arlotta, Adam Salazar, Dan Galyon, Triona O’Callaghan, Cynthia Whitman, and Amanda Wilson is a two-act play, giving the audience a feast to feed on in the
form of musical numbers. The audience was engaged and the writer’s message was well received by all. In reality, we all have a need to look up to someone and in this play the audience sees a hero. This hero lives up to the expectation of a young boy. There was a full house, and I will recommend this play to other theatre goers before the festival concludes on August 2, 2015.

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“The Dead For Breakfast” written by Doug DuBrin, directed by Dan Swern; starring Will Hardyman, Ricky Faust, Jeff Gorcyca, Ron Barba, Matt Saxton, James Crawley, and James McCloskey surely got my undivided attention because of the dialogue and the creativity in the writer’s message. As it is seen and known on the maps of the world, the continent of North America is divided into two countries, the USA and Canada. The audience sees on stage a number of men in military uniforms and by their dialogues, it surmises an impending danger of a disemboweled alliance. The performance takes the audience to higher levels of appreciation for an enormous vocabulary of the English Language.

Even the dim-witted Canadian corporal improves his vocabulary by the end of the play. The uppity Captain in his performance enables the audience to think about improving its own vocabulary. Despite being entertained, the audience sees how the rank and the educational level of each officer or soldier influence his feat. The play gives the audience an opportunity to think about the “what ifs” to engage the minds of many in the event of a war on the North American continent between these two nations.

In the American military contingent, the English language differs from the Canadian’s; and the writer allows the audience to compare and contrast the use of diction among military personnel from both nations. This is a must-see play, and I am suggesting that you must not miss the breath- taking performance of the cast before the festival ends on August 2.

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DSCF9188 300 DPI “Sons of Johnny Johnson” by Robert F. Bradford, directed by Jamil A. C. Mangan; starring Adeyinka Adedola, Lamar K. Cheston, Carol Copper, Brandon Mellette, Tomike Ogugua, Jarvis Smith, Omar M’Sai and Angela Trotter.

This play takes the audience into the realities of life in America in its reflection of the African-American experience of the Johnson family. However, the writer manages to get his message across through the return of the rebellious son from prison. It’s the prodigal son experience on a certain level within the family. His return sparks an avalanche of revelation among members of the Johnson clan. There are days of reflection in the household.
During the play, the son reminds his father about his unwillingness to be an advocate for him in the courtroom on a specific occasion. This indecision on the part of the father sends the son further into a life of crime and incarceration throughout his years as a teenager and beyond. A heart-to-heart conversation between father and son reveals the truth that forces another disclosure of family secrets. Another one-on-one exchange between brothers discloses the sibling rivalry and how it affected the choices of one brother to succeed in life when his defiant brother‘s troubles spiral out of control.

On stage, the husband and wife’s moment of disclosure clarifies the uncertainties that permeate the mind of the husband. The wife’s outpouring of her secret and other information forces the patriarch of the family to come to terms with his role as father and grandfather to all of his sons.

In the end, Mr. Johnson is able to show love and affection to his son without hesitation. Perhaps if Johnny Johnson had shown his son genuine love, he would not have become a bad seed in the first place. This is something for the audience to think about.

The family is able to move forward after all of the secrets are out and apologies are made to members of the family by the son. Son and grandson reveal their educational pursuits to the entire family as the well-off brother reaches out to help his sibling. I will recommend theatre goers to see this play before the festival ends on August 2, 2015. It will help to change the minds of those people who fuss unnecessarily while they have everything going good for them in their lives.

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