Review Roundup: See What Critics Thought of Atlantic's BLUE RIDGE

Review Roundup: See What Critics Thought of Atlantic's BLUE RIDGE

Atlantic Theater Company stages the world premiere production of Blue Ridge, written by Abby Rosebrock and directed by Taibi Magar.

Blue Ridge features Kyle Beltran (Fire in Dreamland), Tony Award nominee Marin Ireland(reasons to be pretty, Summer and Smoke), Nicole Lewis (Bedlam's Sense and Sensibility), Kristolyn Lloyd(Dear Evan Hansen, Paradise Blue), and Chris Stack(Ugly Lies the Bone).

A progressive high-school teacher with a rage problem retaliates against her unscrupulous boss and is sentenced to six months at a church-sponsored halfway house, where she attends to everyone's recovery but her own. Set in Southern Appalachia, Blue Ridge is a pitch-dark comedy about heartbreak, hell-raising and healing.

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Ben Brantley, The New York Times: Even when she's sitting still - which admittedly is a rare occurrence - Alison is a gale-force presence. Portrayed by the never disappointing Marin Ireland in Abby Rosebrock's "Blue Ridge," the emotionally congested play that opened Monday night at the Linda Gross Theater, this disgraced high-school English teacher is one of those unsettling people who suck up all the oxygen in a room in one convulsive gulp.

Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: Apparently, the way to do this is by engaging in aimless rapid-fire conversation, mainly composed of short, staccato phrases, that fails to provide much illumination about themselves or their situations. Not that many of the exchanges can be understood anyway, since the actors have been directed to speak as quickly as possible in impenetrable Southern accents, as if to minimize the banality of the dialogue. This reviewer had the advantage of being able to read the script afterwards and was still left wondering what the play was supposed to be about.

Raven Snook, TimeOut: Blue Ridge is a devastating examination of how even smart, strong women can be deformed by a society that raises them to please-and how men who don't fit in can be victims, too. Director Taibi Magar ably steers the show a through various modes, from biting dark humor to emotional outbursts and quiet confessions. Although the script and the accents sometimes wander, Rosebrock beautifully fleshes out all the characters, who come from diverse ethnic, economic and spiritual backgrounds.

Robert Hofler, The Wrap: In the drama, which opened Monday at Off Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company, the remarkable actor Marin Ireland delivers a big, inventive, overwrought performance that might even be more devastating if it were cut in half. But then Alison is an amazingly big and messy character who finds herself in a drug and alcohol recovery center even though she doesn't have a substance-abuse problem.

Photo Credit: Ahron R. Foster

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