2’s Review: “Fairview”

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As the audience settles down for what quickly appears to be a family birthday celebration, the show eventually takes a quick U-turn that quickly transports you to a place you didn’t expect to go or even see coming.

While it seems like an innocent enough show, the sudden turn I’m talking about leaves audiences with a jaw-dropping feeling that, dare I say, can leave you lost and confused for some time.

But it doesn’t take too long to get back on track and discover what the show is about, and I guess that is the beauty of the show as it keeps the audience engaged with a climactic ending that has you leaving and thinking.

I don’t like giving away plots to the “not so well known” shows, so I’ll tell you in a nutshell, it’s a story of an African American family preparing to celebrate their matriarch’s mother’s birthday.

Her daughter Beverly, played by Actress Tijuanna Clemons, invites her siblings and goes all out to make the event a perfect and memorable occasion. Clemons is convincing in her role as the eldest daughter, trying to please everyone except for her doting husband Dayton, played brilliantly by actor Robert T. Barner, Jr.

Chaos ensues as the first sibling, Jasmine, arrives, played convincingly by Simone Farrell, who is the strongest and perhaps the funniest member of the cast. Farrell delivers every line with attitude and sass. 

However, it is Beverly and Dayton’s teenage daughter Keisha played so well by Zaria Brown, who ultimately delivers the eye-opening performance at the end of the show that leaves the audience exiting in silence.

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Simone Farrell as JasmineZaria Brown as Keisha

So what about the matriarch grandmother everyone is eager to please? While you may expect a Madea-like character making a grand entrance, it is anything but, and there is no spoiler alert here.

After all of these characters are introduced, this is where the show takes you off track.

An entirely new white cast enters the center stage, and suddenly the focus of the show changes, and it leaves you suddenly focused on race.

Actors Todd Miller, Misha Ritter Polomsky, Nova Rae, and Bradley Santos take you on an emotional roller coaster that feels like a right hook that leaves audience members scratching their heads, asking what just happened here.

The show now becomes filled with foul language, raw emotion, and leaves the audience feeling ambushed. This is where I started thinking ‘I don’t like this show’ because I was caught off guard. 

But the provocative scene forces you to quickly shift your thinking, and it will leave you feeling uncomfortable no matter your race.

I won’t spoil this show by telling you anymore other than I’m going to suggest you see it and form your own opinion. It’s unlike anything you may see on a local stage.

“Fairview” is a 2019 Pulitzer Prize drama winner by Jackie Sibblies Drury and is playing at The Laboratory Theater of Florida from August 5-20.

Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 239-218-0481.

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