Monday, September 29, 2008

Our First Review for "The Clean House"

Posted by Bruce Miller

We welcome Julinda Lewis to the growing fold of Richmond theatre critics. She wrote a complimentary review for The Clean House in this morning’s T-D (more about that in a moment). Ms Lewis has been reviewing dance in Richmond for four or five years now, and she’s critiqued other theatrical shows and companies over the last 18 months, including one show at Theatre IV. This is her first review of a Barksdale production, and we’re pleased to be working with her.

Ms Lewis is director of the Ayinde2 Children and Ayinde2 Youth Dance Ministries at St Paul’s Baptist Church in Richmond. Prior to moving to Richmond, she was the founding director of the Spiritual Walking Liturgical Dancers at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, where she grew up and studied dance with George Faison, Fred Benjamin, Eleo Pomare, Maurice Hines and Pepsi Bethel. She also studied with the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Ms Lewis holds BS and MA degrees in Dance and Dance Education from NYU’s School of Education, Health, Nursing and Arts Professions. She has been a dance writer and critic for more than 25 years. She is the author of a young adult biography, Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance, and editor of Black Choreographers Moving Towards the 21st Century, which has been used as a textbook in dance programs throughout the nation.

Ms Lewis is enrolled in the PhD in Education program at VCU. Her dissertation examines the needs and perspectives of gifted performing arts students. She is currently a teacher with the SPACE Program (Special Program for Academic and Creative Excellence) with Richmond Public Schools, and a frequent contributor to Dance and Pointe magazines. Just like her esteemed T-D colleague, Susan Haubenstock, Ms Lewis works as a “Special Correspondent” for the Times-Dispatch.

Here are the quotes we'll be pulling and publishing from her glowing review of The Clean House:

Free-Spirited, Romantic Comedy
Vivacious, Mystical, Defies Convention
The best tantrum ever seen on a stage!
An Analogy for Love ~ Poignant ~ Beautifully Designed
Everyone is Laughing!”

--Julinda Lewis, Richmond Times-Dispatch

We’re so proud of this beautiful production of a great play by Sarah Ruhl, and honored to be partnering with the Firehouse on the Sara Ruhl Festival. If you haven’t made your reservations yet to see The Clean House at Barksdale and Euridice at the Firehouse, I hope you’ll call the box office today at 282-2620.

See you at the theatre!

(The Jay Paul photos seen above picture the following outstanding cast members: [top left] Bianca Bryan and Robin Arthur, [top right] Kelly Kennedy, [mid left] Bianca Bryan and Robin Arthur, [mid right] John Moon and Robin Arthur, [lower left] Jan Guarino, [lower center] Jan Guarino and Bianca Bryan.)

--Bruce Miller


Anonymous said...

I saw the show opening weekend and just loved it!! It was so nice to spend a pleasant Sunday afternoon enjoying such a sophisticated contemporary comedy. It was like taking a quick trip to New York. Rarely does Richmond present something so smart, elegant, funny, thought provoking and delightful. I had never heard of Sarah Ruhl before, but I'm certainly going to keep my eye out for her in the future. Everything about this play felt so light and fresh. What a beautiful way to start your season! Congratulations to all involved.

Cynthia Travis (with husband Tony agreeing)

Anonymous said...

I too saw the show on opening weekend-opening night in fact. I also loved the show and even hope to come back and see it again with my mother. But I was disappointed in the review. I'm glad she liked it. How could she not? But I wish it had been better written.

From all her credits, it seems Ms Lewis has considerable skills writing about dance. But I objected to her including in her complimentary review so many "spoilers" that gave away, somewhat, the lovely ending of the play. I would have prefered that she focus more on discussing the talents of the playwright, director, actors and designers, rather than providing so much of an overview. I'd rather be surprised by the fascinating twists in the plot and the lovely lines.

Anyway, I'm glad you simply quoted from the review rather than providing a link to it. And to those who plan to see this funny and touching play, if you haven't already, don't read Ms Lewis's full review. Just show up at the theater and enjoy the ride. It's a real crowd pleaser.

And by the way, so is "Driving Miss Daisy." You guys are outdoing yourselves.

Jocelyn Cranston

Anonymous said...

I was visiting & shopping with my daughter, a University of Richmond sophomore, when we stumbled upon the Barksdale Theatre at Willow Lawn. We are so glad we investigated and decided to see THE CLEAN HOUSE the next day. What a wonderful little theatre....what a delightful play!!! The actors were superb! Thank you all for the laughter and the tears. My only regret is that our home in Buffalo NY is too far for me to see it again! We will definitely return to the Barksdale Theatre and continue to follow the talents of everyone involved in that October 12th Sunday afternoon a mother & daughter will never forget!