BWW Review: STICK FLY at Meadow Brook Theatre Evokes Thoughtful Discussions of Race, Class, and More
For the next three weeks until April 14th, you can catch Detroit native Lydia R. Diamond's play Stick Fly at Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester Hills. Having played on Broadway from November 2011 to February 2012, Stick Fly comes to Detroit with a talented cast, fascinating production design, and intriguing direction choices courtesy of Washington College professor Benjamin Sterling Cannon.
Not to get too swept up in the minor details, Stick Fly is essentially about a wealthy and unstable African-American family who get together at their vacation home in Martha's Vineyard for the weekend. The two brothers, Flip and Kent, bring their girlfriends for the visit. Lots of discussion about race, family dynamics, and class ensue, particularly when Flip's white girlfriend gets on the nerves of Kent's fiance, who feels rather out of place. Things get especially engaging when a major family secret comes out at the beginning of act 2 and proceeds to unravel throughout the remainder of the show.
Perhaps the best part of Stick Fly at MBT are the actors themselves, who do quality work with the Diamond's material. A performance that sticks in my mind is Briana Gibson Reeves' Taylor. Not only is Taylor Kent's fiance, but she is also stubborn, strong-willed, and can consequently be frustrating at times. Reeves does an excellent job of making the audience resent Taylor and feel a bit sorry for her at the same time, a feat difficult to achieve.
Another standout performance is Kendra Holloway as Cheryl, the 18-year-old daughter of the family's maid who is taking over her mother's duties. While Holloway succeeds at bringing a childish innocence to the role of Cheryl, she also excels at delivering the angst and emotions that fit a person in her position.
This play deals with a variety of topics, often at the same time. By doing so, it illuminates fresh perspectives that aren't often explored in theatre today. Due to it being such a provocative show, I have been thinking about what kind of person might want to see this production. After taking time to consider this, I would say that MBT's production of Stick Fly is a piece of theatre for people who want to try out something new. Going into the performance, however, audience members should be prepared for a 2 hour and 40 minute stimulating exploration of privilege, failure, and the aforementioned themes that all intertwine thoughtfully.
Stick Fly runs through April 14th at Meadow Brook Theatre on Oakland University's campus in Rochester Hills. For information and tickets, visit http://www.mbtheatre.com.
Connect with Meadow Brook Theatre on Twitter at @MBTheatre, on Instagram at @meadowbrooktheatre, and on Facebook at facebook.com/meadowbrooktheatre/.