Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of the Billy Porter Directed THE PURISTS at Huntington Theatre Company?
A thrilling world premiere by an exciting new voice, The Purists brings Tony Award winner Billy Porter (director of Top Dog/Underdog and The Colored Museum at the Huntington) back to the Huntington to direct this soaring new play by Dan McCabe. A former rapper, a DJ, and a showtunes-loving telesales director have become an unlikely group who hang out and spar about music on a stoop in Queens. But, when an impromptu rap battle erupts between two younger female emcees, everything gets questioned. With raw emotion and uproarious humor, The Purists asks, what is friendship? How can we embrace new ideas? And what does it mean to be wholly yourself?
Check out the reviews below!
Don Aucoin, Boston Globe: Whatever their flaws, McCabe doesn't shortchange any of the tempestuous figures who gather to bicker, banter, and connect on a stoop in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens, designed by Clint Ramos and brought to bursting life by Porter and his excellent cast. The playwright makes sure we see his characters whole. McCabe's comprehensively humane portraits, enhanced by the pungently expressive performances Porter draws from his quintet of actors, deepen our emotional investment in the play and add power to the revelations, large and small, that eventually surface.
Ed Sigel, WBUR: They all congregate around the stoop of an apartment building in Queens and if convening these disparate folks seems forced, it never plays that way, with credit going to all of the above for navigating the path so dextrously. Porter, perhaps better known for his acting chops in FX's "Pose," and McCabe are interested in presenting a world in which the five characters can stay true to their selves - keep it real, as they prefer to say - while finding common ground and affection.
Iris Fanger, Wicked Local: The tiny cosmos they inhabit in "The Purists" is a reflection of the larger world we live in, one playwright Dan McCabe brilliantly captures in his drama, currently smoking the stage in its world premiere at the Calderwood Pavilion in the Boston Center for the Arts, courtesy of the Huntington Theatre Company. Tony-winner Billy Porter ("Kinky Boots") deftly directs an ensemble of five terrific actors of such talent that you'd swear they were living the characters before your eyes. The show achieves a breakthrough in stage truth and relevance blessed with a large quotient of entertainment value.
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