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MANish Boy

  • Theater, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Ralph Harris is ecstatic when he gets a call from an old lover, but before he can finish his question—“Do you still have those hot pants…”—she tells him that he might be a father. The DNA test he must take sends him back to his hometown of Philadelphia, where every street is a memory lane. Harris relives his boyhood: wishes on his family’s spin-top chair (“make me rich, make me rich”), stoop speeches about “freaking girls,” a glorious arrest for trespassing on a playground. Amid the child’s play, he delves into serious matters. How do you know how to be a dad when yours left when you were seven? With compassion and verisimilitude, he portrays his violent, substance-abusing father and uncle, conveying both their love and their terror in a heartbreaking performance. For comic relief, he also plays his delightful 94-year-old grandfather (who, when held at gunpoint, hilariously shames his assailant) and his mother’s best friend (who became his lover when he was 20). Harris's delivery combines incredible speed with impressive diction and clarity—the words flow with terrific musicality—and he enacts his physical transformations with grace and agility. With bittersweet humor, Harris offers a memorable look at the things that can separate men from boys.—Sarah Andrew

Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.


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