Regional Reviews: Philadelphia
Owens, Hollis Heath, and Janelle Heatley are the stars and co-writers (Chyann Sapp also co-writes) of this singular work. They play Bridget, Toni, and Shayla respectively, young professionals and childhood friends reuniting in the same spot they used to gather as children. The trio talk about what Harlem was like growing up and how fast things there are changing, but they also reenact conversations glimpsed on subway rides, dance their asses off, and become buildings to tell the story of their community.
Renaissance in the Belly of the Killer Whale does a phenomenal job conveying the impacts of gentrification and advocating for a future that respects and pays homage to the past. It is also a seriously good time. Walking the line between comedy and poetry slam, the play creates an environment where the audience feels free to laugh and carry on with the ensemble, even when the joke is on them. Everyone will have a good time here, but if you love black culture or New York City this is an especially fantastic celebration.
Renaissance in the Belly of the Killer Whale runs through March 7, 2020, at The Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia PA. For tickets and information, please visit wilmatheater.org, call 215-546-7824, or come to the theater.