Arts » Theater + Dance

North of the Boulevard at Phoenix Theatre

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Trip (Bill Simmons) listens to Bear's (Ben Rose) lan to get rich playing McDonald’s Monopoly game in North of the Boulevard. - ZACH ROSING
  • Zach Rosing
  • Trip (Bill Simmons) listens to Bear's (Ben Rose) lan to get rich playing McDonald’s Monopoly game in North of the Boulevard.

Set just after Obama's election and before he first took office, North of the Boulevard finds three childhood friends and a drunken old man confronting racism, classism, homophobia and government corruption, just to name a few. Despite its ambitious thematic reach, Bruce Graham's humorous script stays plot-focused and character-driven.

Skillfully directed and thoughtfully acted, the production is subtle in its approach to these tough subjects. The play's setting - a crumbling auto shop - functions as a sort of microcosm of low-income, blue-collar life. In particular, Bill Simmons as Trip perfectly communicates the desperation of a man helpless to improve his family's quality of life. In the end, North of the Boulevard raises a lot of questions and gives no answers in its puncturing of the American Dream.

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