Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron
White Guy on the Bus
Also see David's review of The Royale
Although they are childless, Ray and Roz had "adopted" a local lad, Christopher (Tony Zanoni) who grew up as a latch-key neighbor kid raised by a variety of foreign nannies. Christopher is now grown and is presenting his doctoral thesis on "the role of young black males in television advertising." Christopher is engaged to Molly (Rachel Lee Kolis), who works as a guidance counselor at a privileged academy. Sparks fly when Molly and Roz discuss the disparity of their different professional worlds. Where Molly has students who travel to Europe for further studies, Roz struggles to teach tenth graders how to read and write.
When tragedy strikes Ray's family, he becomes "The White Guy on the Bus," using specific profiling techniques in order to set the wheels of his revenge in motion. His target of interest is Shatique (India Nicole Burton), whose brother is currently incarcerated for life on murder charges. Leaving his Mercedes and posh lifestyle behind (but still wearing his custom fitted suits), Ray attempts to integrate himself into Shatique's life.
In the tiny enclave known as the None Too Fragile Theatre, the set is a bare bones collection of large cubes that represent various living rooms and the bus. This allows the audience to totally focus on the acting, which is superb.
Joseph Bonamico gives a tour de force performance as Ray, a man driven to revenge who uses every device at his disposal in order to bring about his idea of justice. He is a man of means who is used to getting everything he wantsno matter what the cost. He is the epitome of "the privileged white guy." Dede Klein plays his idealistic wife whose feet straddle the diverse worlds of the ultra rich and the ultra poor. India Nicole Burton as Shatique is caught in the middle as an unwed mother struggling to better herself by working at an assisted living facility while earning her pediatric nursing degree. Rachel Lee Kolis as Molly and Tony Zanoni as Christopher give background information on Ray and Roz while establishing the hidden conflicts involved in not only the black neighborhoods but the white ones as well. Sean Derry does a superb job in directing as the tension is allowed to build slowly to its climax.
One must pay careful attention to the various details and clues as this time-scrambled show builds. In this stark examination of modern race relations in America we see two extremes colliding as a man's quest for revenge and justice forces him to be "the White Guy on the Bus." Gripping, engaging, topical, and intense.
The None Too Fragile production of White Guy on the Bus, through May 26, 2018, at Pub Bricco, 1841 Merriman Road, Akron OH. Tickets may be purchased online at www.nonetoofragile.com.