Through November 26, 2017
Karamu’s ‘The Lake Effect’ more bluster than blizzard.
“The Lake Effect,” written by Cleveland Heights’ award winning playwright Rajiv Joseph, is a thought-provoking script which uses Cleveland area references to develop its theme. It gets a creditable production at Karamu.
While a bit of the acting is heavily weighted and relies more on loud demonstratives, the core of the writing still makes for an intriguing evening of entertainment. Sometimes it takes a perfect stranger to be the holder of deep family secrets.
Our eagerness to solve the mystery is dampened by the wooden, self-conscious performances of Suleiman and El Dabh, who never relax into their parts. (The cramped stage, erected in Karamu's Concert Hall, a less than ideal venue for fully staged works while the Jelliffe Theatre is refurbished, doesn't help.) They could take a lesson from Little, a natural always at ease in whatever skin he's in. In one scene, he stands alone in a pool of light, gazing into a whirl of falling snow, seeking a bit of otherworldly advice, and it's then that we realize the full, poignant potential of Joseph's piece - and the limitations of this Ohio premiere.