Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: CASHED OUT at SF Playhouse

Review: CASHED OUT at SF Playhouse

Cashed Out continues through February 25, 2023.

Cashed Out, an SF Playhouse commission two and a half years in the making, delivers on its portrayal of the bleak realities of reservation life including domestic violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, loss of culture and the casino culture and its ugly by product -gambling addiction. While these vices are not exclusive to indigenous peoples, they are seen at much higher incidences.

The script by Claude Jackson Jr., a director of his tribe's public defender's office, has a keen authenticity throughout. Traditional basket weaving plays an integral component of the plot in which three generations of women living on the Gila River Indian Community Reservation in Arizona will either accept or reject their legacy. The actors are all Native American adding a significant legitimacy to their connection to the material.

The protagonist is Rocky Camu, a gambling addict deep in the throes of a freefall. Played with anxious freneticism by Rainbow Dickerson, she's an emotional wreck having witnessed her parents violent relationship, her father's abandonment, her mother's admonition that she is not worthy and witnessing her mother's OD and death. It's enough to push anyone over the edge and Rocky embezzles funds from the casino, abandons her daughter Maya (Louisa Kizer) and blows her chances at romance with her admirer Levi (Chingwe Padraig Sullivan).

Review: CASHED OUT at SF Playhouse
Levi (Chinge Padraig Sullivan) and Rocky (Rainbow Dickerson)

The play shifts back and forth through time, to help explain the narrative. There's a constant force throughout, Nan (Sheila Toussey), Rocky's aunt who tries to keep the turmoil at bay and protect Maya. It's a strong performance by one a voice of reason and continuity. Rocky's mother Virginia (Lisa Ramirez) makes ghostly appearances, weaving her extraordinary baskets that Rocky will attempt to sell when her debts become overwhelming. Adding to the mix is Buddy (Matt Kizer), Rocky's estranged father, now sober and wealthy can only help by supplying Rocky with cash.

Review: CASHED OUT at SF Playhouse
Virginia Camu (Lisa Ramirez)

Failed attempts at court-ordered group therapy, moment of lucidity and motherly love are all dashed by Rocky's addiction. It's a harsh reality to witness and the play, a World Premier may benefit from condensing and editing and eliminating repetitious points. Michael Oesch's lighting is fantastic, with attention to tiny details like sunlight filtering through a window blind, the neon casino lighting and the flickering lights when Virginia's ghost is present. Tanya Oreliana has created a gorgeous revolving set of the Camu's adobe home and the sleek casino, all enveloped inside a giant weaved basket.

Review: CASHED OUT at SF Playhouse
Maya (Louiza Kizer), Buddy (Matt Kizer), Levi (Chingw Padraig Sullivan) and Nan (Sheila Toussey)

Cashed Out accurately depicts a dark side of reservation life that is seldom seen and for that, it's an important piece.

Cashed Out continues through February 25, 2023. Tickets available at or calling (415) 677-9596

Photo credit: Vita Hewitt

Pear Theatre Will Present PEAR SLICES 2023 Beginning in April Photo
Pear Slices 2023 features nine new short plays. Playwrights include Barbara Anderson, Robin Booth, Leah Halper, Greg Lam, Sophia Naylor, Ross Peter Nelson and Bridgette Dutta Portman.

Sú North To Release Music Video For Single Yellow in April Photo
Alternative hip hop/rap artist Sú North (previously known as Sharif Hassan) is back with his latest single, 'Yellow,' and its accompanying music video, set for release on April 7th.

San José Chamber Orchestra to Present Three New Works By American Composers Photo
The San José Chamber Orchestra (SJCO) will present NEW SOUNDS on Sunday April 2, 2023 at 7 pm at the St Francis Episcopal Church.

Center Repertory Company Pauses Performances Of SWEAT At Lesher Center Photo
Center Repertory Company will pause performances of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning SWEAT due to illness in the company. All performances between Saturday, March 25 and Thursday, March 30 have been cancelled. Performances resume on Friday, March 31 and continue through Sunday, April 16.

From This Author - Steve Murray

Steve Murray is a writer for Cabaret Scenes magazine, contributor to ForAllEvents and now BroadwayWorld. He started writing rock reviews for his college newspaper in the 1970’s, produced a va... (read more about this author)

Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Golden Gate TheatreReview: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Golden Gate Theatre
March 24, 2023

What did our critic think of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Golden Gate Theatre? By the time this review posts, this phenomenal touring production of ten-time Tony award winning Fiddler on the Roof will have packed up the shtetl and hit the road after a too brief 8-show run. Unfortunate for those who could not attend because Fiddler has never been so vibrant, so full of life and amazingly prescient to the alarming rise in forced immigrant migrations and rising antisemitism.

Review: FANNIE - THE MUSIC AND LIFE OF FANNIE LOU HAMER at TheatreWorks Silicon ValleyReview: FANNIE - THE MUSIC AND LIFE OF FANNIE LOU HAMER at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
March 19, 2023

What did our critic think of FANNIE - THE MUSIC AND LIFE OF FANNIE LOU HAMER at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley?

Review: CLUE at SF PlayhouseReview: CLUE at SF Playhouse
March 17, 2023

What did our critic think of CLUE at SF Playhouse?

Review: SIX at Orpheum TheatreReview: SIX at Orpheum Theatre
February 23, 2023

What did our critic think of SIX at Orpheum Theatre? Six wives, six women, six individual stories all bonded by marriage to Henry VIII. Playwrights Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss explore each woman from their perspectives through a boisterous musical score mirroring easily recognizable contemporary pop and R&B vocalists. Not so much a history lesson as a bonding sisterhood tome, SIX is a high-powered, crowd-pleasing rock musical worthy of its many awards including Tony Award. for Best Original Score (Music and Lyrics).

Review: THE HEADLANDS at American Conservatory TheatreReview: THE HEADLANDS at American Conservatory Theatre
February 16, 2023

What did our critic think of THE HEADLANDS at American Conservatory Theatre?