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Pass Over Broadway Reviews

PASS OVER Broadway Reviews

CRITICS RATING:
7.93
READERS RATING:
7.93
Rate Pass Over

PASS OVER is Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu's new play, drawing inspiration from Waiting for Godot and the Exodus story, placed on a city street corner. Moses and Kitch stand around - talking shit, passing the time, and hoping that maybe today will be different. As they dream of their promised land, a stranger wanders into their space and disrupts their plans.

Critics' Reviews

9

BWW Review: Broadway's Day of Reckoning Has Arrived with PASS OVER

From: BroadwayWorld | By: Christian Lewis | Date: 08/22/2021

During the shutdown, there was a great deal of conversation about how Broadway needs to change; Pass Over is the embodiment of that change. It is exactly what Broadway needs to be. If we can follow the lead of this production, Broadway can pass over into something different, something better, something more equitable and diverse, something more political. If Broadway is to survive, it must keep up with the times. Pass Over offers a model of how it can do that. It is an extraordinary beacon, a proof that, in Moses' words, "dis shit's changin now."

8

Review: ‘Pass Over’ Comes to Broadway, in Horror and Hope

From: New York Times | By: Jesse Green | Date: 08/22/2021

In rewriting for Broadway, [Nwandu] has gone even further. Not only has she decided to push the play past tragedy into something else, but she has also, in its last 10 minutes, let its innate surrealism fully flower in a daring and self-consciously theatrical way. (The transformation is gorgeously rendered in Wilson Chin's scenic design, Marcus Doshi's lighting, Justin Ellington's sound and even, in their removal, Sarafina Bush's costumes.) Somehow Nwandu gives us the recognition of horror that has informed drama since the Greeks while also providing the relief of joy - however irrational - that calls to mind the ecstasies of gospel, splatter flicks and classic musicals, all of which are sampled.

8

PASS OVER: WAITING FOR THE PO-PO, HOPING FOR THE PROMISED LAND

From: New York Stage Review | By: Jesse Oxfeld | Date: 08/22/2021

The dialogue is sharp, funny, and unflinching, and the performances are extraordinary. Hill and Smallwood (in his Broadway debut) are deft and winning, and they imbue their talky parts with a dynamic, nearly acrobatic physicality. Ebert is unctuously oily in his two roles. And director Danya Taymor, together with designers Wilson Chin (scenery), Sarafina Bush (costumes), and Marcus Doshi (lighting), create a world that is bleak and haunting, until it suddenly and unexpectedly turns vibrant and lush.

8

PASS OVER: A PLAY THAT SPEAKS TO OUR TIMES

From: New York Stage Review | By: Frank Scheck | Date: 08/22/2021

The three actors, repeating their Lincoln Center performances, couldn't be better. Hill and Smallwood expertly play off each in the manner of seasoned vaudevillians, while Ebert delivers a tour-de-force turn, infused with comic physicality and an undercurrent of danger, that keeps us on edge even as we're laughing.

8

Pass Over

From: Time Out NY | By: Adam Feldman | Date: 08/22/2021

I mean that Pass Over is not a play that plays it safe. It's a risky enterprise-a serious non-musical show, opening in the summer amid a public-health crisis-and although Pass Over deals with questions of escape, it is far from escapist entertainment. On the contrary, it grapples head-on with issues that have riven the country during the past two years: police violence, systemic racism, financial inequality. The concept of plague figures centrally.

The magnetic Hill and Smallwood infuse Moses and Kitch with exuberant physicality; though they create distinct characters, the ineffable, mutual dependence they conjure is their chief accomplishment. Ebert applies a freewheeling buffoonery to Mister and, later, an opposite dimension of cruel menace to his other role, a policeman who under stress will undergo a dramatic conversion.

I'd feared that Nwandu's intimate three-hander would lose much of its impact going into a big Broadway house. Too often plays performed in large theaters have an audio mush that makes it difficult to decipher from which actor's mouth the words are coming. Fortunately, Justin Ellington's expert sound design solves that problem. In fact, when each of the three actor's sheds his pesky body mic at play's end, Taymor's direction turns it into a witty act of liberation.

Danya Taymor's production is well acted by all three cast members; Smallwood in particular achieves some truly haunting moments late in the play. Still, you're often left wondering how real these characters are intended to be. It's tough to perform symbols and the show struggles with specificity, especially in the difficult scenes with the cop. The show in general could do to trust more that its message is coming through loud and clear.

Without spoiling the new ending, Nwandu has concocted a more fantasy-like approach, embracing an Afrofuturistic style and a continuation of the magic realism that has already made sporadic appearances, and while there will be blood, its source might surprise. Even the cop is offered a chance at redemption as the set, designed by Wilson Chin, transforms from the stark urban purgatory - presided over by a streetlamp that looks more like the gallows in a game of Hangman - to something altogether more pastoral, more promised.

8

Pass Over Reaches for the Promised Land

From: Vulture | By: Helen Shaw | Date: 08/22/2021

In moving to Broadway, Nwandu has, while redrafting, given the script a new ending. Nwandu was raised in (and left) the evangelical church, and a sermonizing energy is certainly at work inside the play. It exhorts and exposits; it kindles the faithful. In changing the conclusion, though, she seems to be deliberately acting more as pastor than as preacher, taking care of herself, her cast, and her audience by eliding the earlier version's most hopeless moments. Some of these new, final scenes do still feel a bit improvisational. The flawlessness of the earlier sections falls away, and we can almost hear the "let's try this?" of the rehearsal room. But I think the awkwardness of this happier ending might actually be the point.

8

‘Pass Over’ Review: Antoinette Nwandu’s Play Reignites Broadway

From: Variety | By: Marilyn Stasio | Date: 08/22/2021

Nwandu's theatrical idiom - the heartsick poetry of profanity applied to the raging anger of deep existential pain - is its own kind of beautiful. There's something blood-boiling about the men's casual revelations of personal suffering, pointed cruelty and the underlying social injustice of systemic racism. This playwright's voice can be a joy to hear, and her language is often blistering.

8

‘Pass Over’ Review: Antoinette Nwandu’s Play Reignites Broadway

From: Variety | By: Marilyn Stasio | Date: 08/22/2021

Nwandu's theatrical idiom - the heartsick poetry of profanity applied to the raging anger of deep existential pain - is its own kind of beautiful. There's something blood-boiling about the men's casual revelations of personal suffering, pointed cruelty and the underlying social injustice of systemic racism. This playwright's voice can be a joy to hear, and her language is often blistering.

7

‘Pass Over’ Broadway review: An enticing, uneven play

From: New York Post | By: Johnny Oleksinski | Date: 08/22/2021

Hill and Smallwood have a lively rapport that makes us believe they really have been with each other constantly for a thousand years. Hill, in particular, reveals both sweetness and immense passion. The dance-like movement director Dayna Taymor gives the pair perfectly suits Nwandu's musical text.

7

amBroadway Review | ‘Pass Over’ helps give Broadway a rousing restart

From: amNY | By: Matt Windman | Date: 08/22/2021

"Pass Over" is not for everyone - or even most people - but it is for those who are ready and willing to take in a raw, incendiary, and challenging (though often entertaining and gripping) piece of contemporary theater. I admire the play tremendously while also finding it to be repetitive, uncomfortable, and bewildering. I've really missed shows like this.