Through May 27, 2018
Cleveland Play House leads with its left with expressionistic, heavyweight drama ‘The Royale.’
To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/
To fully appreciate “The Royale,” audience members must broaden their view beyond the boxing ring, the story of the fight for the championship and societal prejudice, and delve into the psychological motivations of the great black champion, himself. “The Royale” is a thought-provoking conflict which many will appreciate, while others will find themselves defeated by some of the script’s abstraction.
At the end of this play you will find yourself wanting to stand up and cheer as well as cry at the same time. This is in your face drama that goes beyond the historical tale and into the nearly overpowering struggles of the African-Americans at the turn of the last century. You will leave the theater a changed person.
With all that singing, dancing and magic-carpet riding going on in other theaters on Playhouse Square, it’s great to have solid, modern work reminds us how thrilling and entertaining serious theater can be. Cleveland Play House’s “The Royale” could have been a straight-forward, cleaned-up bio about Jay “The Sport” Jackson, the stage avatar for the real-life Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champ in the country. But there is nothing straightforward, sentimental or conventional about Marco Ramirez’ award-winning drama. “Rocky” on stage, it isn’t.
The Royale is a play about boxing in the same way that A streetcar Named Desire is about urban public transportation.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at Cleveland Scene
The outstanding cast of five, some in multiple roles, fought, negotiated, defied, taunted each other, all the while redefining their place in the world. As Jay Jackson, Preston Butler III (all muscles and six-pack abs) looked and acted every bit the confident champion. Nikkole Salter, as his sister Nina, evoked the thoughtful presence of women who always try to hold things together. Brian D. Coats, as Jackson’s trainer Wynton, offered wry and earnest advice to the boxer. Johnny Ramery, as young Fish, brought bounce to his role as Jackson’s opponent and then sparring partner. Leo Marks primarily played Max, the boxer’s manager, but also effectively, sometimes amusingly, also played all the white guys necessary to the plot.
For a full review see Laura's blog at artstillmatters.com
An American tragedy as shrewd and bruising as anything wirtten by Miller, William or O'
Neil. No split decion here. "The Royale' is magnificient.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.