WINDY CITY TIMES
||THEATER REVIEW Six Corners
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Brian Kirst
This article shared 447 times since Tue Feb 27, 2018
Playwright: Keith Huff
At: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-327-5252 or AmericanBluesTheater.com; $19-$49. Runs through: March 24
Referred to as "the sugar man," violent-crimes unit detective Nick Moroni actually has little that is saccharine about him. As one of the prime participants in Six Cornersthe latest play from acclaimed television writer Keith HuffMoroni fits right at home in this grizzled show's world of passionate crime, heart-wrenching conflict and moral ambiguity.
Things begin humorously enough, with Moroni ( a layered and likeable Peter DeFaria ) comically giving up the chance at participating in an exclusive poker game to potentially bed his playful partner, Bernadette Perez ( vibrant yet grounded Monica Orozco ). Meanwhile, two frightened witnesses to the murder of a man on an el platform wait to be interrogated by the flirtatious duo. But when it is discovered that the deceased man was once accused of killing a young girl, things take a darker turn. Both Carter ( an emotionally resentful Manny Buckley ) and Amanda ( a deeply resonant Brenda Barrie ) seem to be hiding something, including a possible connection to the past crime. As Moroni and Perez begin to solve the mystery, they discover that both their relationship and their professional values, as flawed as they may be, might be completely obliterated in a storm of anger and disagreement.
Reminiscent of the tone of A Steady Rainhis previous work that received a ballyhooed Broadway production featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel CraigHuff works with a sense of dirty realism mixed with a broader cinematic flair here. He is aided, adeptly, by Gary Griffin's fully realized direction. Griffin, along with the amendable cast, is particularly helpful in bringing out likeable nuances in characters that often do unimaginably horrible things.
At one point, it is revealed that Perez has covered for Moroni in the shooting of an unarmed perpetrator. Even more damning, perhaps, she is complicit in the homophobic beating of her ex-husband and his boyfriend. But Griffin and crew strive to find the emotional undercurrents to these actions. Thus to some, Perez may come off more as a vengeful romantic partner than an unrepentant gay-basher. It is also this work's greatest strength that this position could be debated and strenuously ripped apart by another audience member. Huff allows us room to examine human nature in all its gnarled unevenness.
Unsurprisingly, Huff also gives ample voice to the horrors of profiling and police violence against the Black community. This is expressed most hauntingly in sweet flashback sequences between characters gently played by Byron Glenn Willis and the truly adorable Lyric Sims. Here the dangers of wrongful accusation and biased assumption are potently presented. Thus, despite some of the more unrealistic celluloid resolutions of this piece, Huff's work sticks with you long after the curtain falls.
This article shared 447 times since Tue Feb 27, 2018
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