Riff Raff

By Laurence Fishburneriff raff by fishburne

Directed by Richard Cotovsky

produced by Mary-Arrchie Theatre

At Angel Island, Chicago

Gritty low-life criminal drama an actor’s showcase

Penned by film and stage actor Laurence Fishburn in eight days, Riff Raff is a mystery/drama that plays out as an actor’s showcase. The play, set in New York’s criminal underworld, revolves around half-brothers Mike “20-20” (Eduardo Martinez) and Billy “Torch” (Mike Cherry) who are holed up in an abandoned crack den on the Lower East Side. They’ve got three kilos of smack, blood on their hands and New York’s biggest drug lord on their tail.

riff raff by fishburne

These hapless losers and half-brothers screwed-up a robbery of a drug dealer that resulted in Torch being shot in the hand after he shot one during the sting. 20/20 Mike calls his old running buddy and cell mate- Tony Lee-the tiger (Eric Sherman-Christ) to help them escape NYC. The result is a fast paced, well acted emotionally packed crime drama. This slice-of-street-life drama features three terrific performances. From 20/20 Mike’s Eduardo Martinez as the plotting ‘criminal genius’ to Mike Cherry’s Torch, the jonesing simpleminded muscle to the smoothing talking Eric Sherman-Christ at Tony Lee, Riff Raff is a taunt drama  about robbery, murder, betrayal on the drug-laden street of NYC.

riff raff by fishburne

riff raff by fishburne

Filled with sharp dialogue including a witty hip-hop poetic riff delivered deftly Sherman-Christ, Riff Raff dramatizes the personal foibles of these three street thugs. I’ll not wander into the plot lines because I don’t want to spoil your experience when you see this terrific, scary battle of demons. Who is on which side and how will Tony Lee help or hinder the two Mike’s efforts to escape NYC?  Will Torch’s need for a fix screw things up and did 20/20 Mike make another bad decision by asking Tony Lee for help? See this show to discover what happens. You’ll be satisfied with both the structure and the acting in Riff Raff. Chicago style theatre gritty raw elements are a hallmark of Mary-Arrchie Theatre. Riff Raff is another gem to be seen.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

At Angel Island, 735 West Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL, call 773) 871-0442, tickets $18 -$22, Friday & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, running time is 1 hour, 40 minutes without intermission, through October 30, 2011