Wedding Dance

Dominic Taylor has fashioned a diffuse and rambling comedy incorporating the stylistic and linguistic nuances of hip-hop culture. "Wedding Dance" begins on the mean streets of Chicago's south side with a confrontation at gunpoint. Fantasy abruptly collides with reality in the play's broadly comic second act, and a decided lack of cohesion leaves the audience foundering between social significance and comic-book allegory. Confined to a wheelchair, Gayle (Theara Ward) has just moved into the neighborhood. Strong in her faith, praying for less pain and more joy in the world, she goes to church every Sunday, despite the fact that there is no access ramp. When a couple of wannabe hustlers snatch her purse, the victim's feisty daughter, Bessie (Latonya Holmes), arrives armed with knife and gun to retrieve her mother's money, going so far as to shoot a mugger in the ankle for good measure.

With:
Cast: Latonya Holmes (Bessie), Ramon Melindez Moses (Milton), Jacinto Taras Riddick (Rashad), Kevin Thigpen (Ab), Theara Ward (Gayle).

In the satirical second act, a Cinderella myth begins as Bessie is wooed by one of the street punks at a wedding reception. She resists his advances and good-natured charm, and the play abruptly stops, suggesting that happy endings can be found only in fairy tales.

As staged by Donald Douglass on a functional multilevel set, “Wedding Dance” is a busy production with such an awkward clash of styles and attitude that even the players seem to struggle with their identities.

Wedding Dance

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.

Production: A Crossroads Theater Company presentation, in association with AT&T OnStage, of a play in two acts by Dominic Taylor. Directed by Donald Douglass. Set, Myung Hee Cho

Creative: Costumes, Loyce L. Arthur; lighting, Jan Kroeze; sound, Lloyd E. Vaughan Jr.; stage manager, David Waggett. Artistic director, Ricardo Khan. Opened March 4, 1997, at crossroads Theater. Reviewed March 8; 264 seats; $ 32 top. Running time: 1 HOUR, 55 MIN.

Cast: Cast: Latonya Holmes (Bessie), Ramon Melindez Moses (Milton), Jacinto Taras Riddick (Rashad), Kevin Thigpen (Ab), Theara Ward (Gayle).

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