Fly to See “Flyin West” at Falcon

Review by Sherri Wellington

One of these days a Falcon Theatre play inevitably will have to disappoint this reviewer but it hasn’t happened yet.  Flyin’ West is another great play with some fabulous performances.  The play takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride where one is increasingly uncertain when and how it will end.

The Plot of Flyin’ West

The setting is in Kansas after the Civil War. The year 1898.  Three sisters leave Memphis and go out west to homestead. Now elderly, another black woman who owns property after homesteading, is staying with two of the sisters during the time the youngest sister is visiting after living in London with her “mulatto” husband.  

The playwright is a fairly prolific writer, Pearl Cleage, also a novelist, poet and political activist.  Throughout the play she is  making the audience deal with serious issues that include racism, misogyny, physical and verbal abuse, politics, and even murder.  Yet, she softens the harsh reality of a broken world with the love, beauty, personalities and stories from each of the four women.

The Actors are Fabulous

The actors are fabulous.  Bryana Bentley superbly plays Sophie Washington, the eldest sister, who loves owning her own land, controlling her own life and giving her sisters that same opportunity.  Fannie Dove (played by Shantel Routt)  is the gentle, refined, yet is firmly entrenched in being the “proper” sister.  The youngest is Minnie Dove Charles (played by Kenny Rayburn) who is struggling with an abusive husband, Frank Charles  (played by Jazz McMullen).  Frank Charles hates “colored people” which must include his own mother since he is “mulatto.

Frank Charles’ foil is Wil Parish (played by Alfred Gover). Wil is the loving, kind, and protective suitor of Fannie Dove. Burgess Byrd who plays Miss Leah brings such deep sadness but also rich humor into this drama. Her stories of her children who were sold off during slavery and those who died breaks one’s heart.  However, her vexing of Sophie and her handling of the abusive husband reminds us all that in life, silliness and joy still exist in the darkest of times.

Production Staff and Crew

I want to remind you how lucky we are to live in Cincinnati where there are so many accomplished people among us!  Besides the talented actors there are so many others involved in a play.  The Falcon Theatre has many accomplished and skilled staff.  For example, in Flyin West the stage is extremely complicated. Thanks to Ted J Weil (Scenic Design & Set Construction), Tara Williams (Props Design,  Set Construction & Set Decor) and Clint Ibele (Set Construction) there is a bedroom, kitchen, dining room, parlor, office,  window to the outside, and a front porch on stage so that elaborate set changes were not required.  The actor’s costumes are designed by Beth Joos.  Wigs/Hair Design are by Lisa Dirkes.  Lighting Design (Ted J. Weil), Sound Design (Ted J Weil & Piper N. Davis) and Lighting and Sound Execution (Katie Ruwe) have to be fine tuned before and during each of the performances. 

To bring it all together is the Director Piper N. Davis. To make sure every performance runs as intended is Stage Manager Katie Ruwe.

Get your Tickets to Flyin’ West

Flyin’ West will be playing in May on the following days:  12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27th. Show time is always 8:00 pm.  Falcon Theatre is located at 636 Monmouth Street in Newport, Kentucky.  It is an extremely easy drive from Cincinnati.  Get your tickets HERE. Take a date, a friend or just yourself to spend an evening being thoroughly entertained!  Enjoy!