Maya Lynne Robinson, Mike Mihm, and Jonathan Hinman.
BOTTOM LINE: A well-done laugh-out-loud joyride with an exceptionally talented cast.
In the author’s note for The Lady Drug Dealer and the Heist, Temar Underwood muses about how one review of his last show derided it as “thoroughly ridiculous” and how that comment inspired him to write a show that actually was “thoroughly ridiculous.” Underwood succeeds in spades and in the process delivers an interestingly framed, well-constructed, enjoyable drug-tinged whodunit that will have audiences laughing their tails off.
The audience enters as the entire cast is laying dead in various poses around the minimally set stage. As the play begins, we meet Hunter (Ian Campell Dunn) and Gray (Alexander Elisa) who are vying to tell the audience what actually brought them all to this point.
Without spoiling too much of the wonderful show, the plot revolves around Jimmy (Jon Hoche) who is selling drugs for a tough female drug dealer known simply as “Ms” (the very funny Erica Swindell). When he brings home his inventory to his good friends Gray and Reggie (Mike Mihm)— $2000 worth of cocaine—they decide to try "just a little", but wind up snorting it all in a binge. Now they owe Ms. “her mother-f**king money,” and endeavor to rob a bank so that Ms.’s partner in crime, henchman Benjie (Jonathan Hinman) doesn’t kill them.
Under Underwood’s direction the highly talented ensemble cast phenomenally hits all of the comedic notes and keeps the audience deeply invested in the “thoroughly ridiculous” plot. With a talented cast playing such well-crafted and amusing characters, it is hard to single out performances, although the wide-eyed Maya Lynnne Robinson stands out as Odessa, the black loan shark who is brought into the scheme.
Underwood has delivered a masterful, side-splitting good time; doubling as the show's director, he cast it with an exceptional group of very funny actors. As Ms. might say, “go see this mother-f**king play!”
(The Lady Drug Dealer and the Heist plays at the Connelly Theatre, 220 East 4th Street, through August 27, 2011. Remaining performances are Monday, August 22nd at 7:15PM; Friday, August 26th at 7PM; and Saturday, August 27th at 9:15PM. Tickets are $15 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more show info visit theladydrugdealer.com. For more info about FringeNYC visit fringnyc.org.)