nytheatre.com review by Alexander Zalben
Blurring Shine has one of
the strongest ensemble casts I’ve seen in years. Every single performer
has a unique presence, and a complete command of both the stage and
playwright Zakiyyah Alexander’s satirical text.
August 15, 2003
Okay, quick step backwards: Blurring Shine is a play about two estranged African American half-brothers. The first, Luther, is a well-off master-of-the-universe type, well-spoken, smartly dressed, and willing to sell his soul for a deal. The other is Shine, a ghetto refugee who dresses in B-Boy style, and uses every piece of slang available, for all its worth.
Luther ends up hiring Shine to be repeatedly interviewed for a murky and slightly sinister sounding marketing project. As it continues, and Shine and Luther begin to have their lives intertwined… let’s just say if you guessed that they end up switching places, and learning important life lessons from each other, you wouldn’t be wrong. You also wouldn’t be completely right. The play has several surprises up its sleeves, and I’ll leave those for you to find out yourself.
Ed Blunt as Luther, and Mtume Gant as Shine both completely inhabit their characters, creating real people that skirt the edge of parody, without ever falling into it. Parody is left to the rest of the cast, including the hilarious Burl Moseley, muMs, and Dorian Missick, in a series of scenes which I won’t ruin, and which come very close to stealing the show.
The meat of the show comes with the question, is Hip-Hop a valid means of expression, or just a collection of marketing dictates. And how can a person be original, when companies control every bit of our waking life. It’s not the most original water in the world, but Blurring Shine treads it well.