FROM GUMBO TO MUMBO, by Drew Anderson and Dwayne Lawson-Brown, directed by Duane Richards II. Photo by Cameron Whitman Photography.

Broadway World: FROM GUMBO TO MUMBO

Keegan Theatre returns for a virtual fall season that looks a little bit different, but still packs an emotional punch

Within the first few minutes of Keegan Theatre’s From Gumbo to Mumbo, I was struck with a sense of panic: how could I, a New York Jew, give a fair review to a show that heavily leaned on a discussion of gumbo and bacon, and said something tasted like it was from New York as a form of an insult? I’ve covered and enjoyed art that doesn’t regard me as the target audience, but I definitely felt a bit in over my head.

But, by the third segment, the poetry of Drew Anderson and Dwayne Lawson-Brown’s words drew me in, and hooked me. And it clicked: From Gumbo to Mumbo is like my favorite books of poetry – a little rough when you’re still learning the rhythms, but ultimately captivating. Anderson and Lawson-Brown’s command of language is stunning, and I found myself wishing for a copy of the script to pour over so I could marvel at their unique blend of colloquial speech, pop culture references, and classical literary allusion – a lesson in DC slang alongside references to Play Station and Greek mythology doesn’t sound like a natural fit, but in Anderson and Lawson-Brown’s hands it’s the perfect encapsulation of this moment in history. The linguistic juxtapositions in this script – the connections between Shakespeare and Mr. Ed, modern song lyrics to historical events, literacy to capitalism to race to Marvel comics – are absolutely stunning, and I feel like the audience could discover a new, intriguing turn of phrase with each viewing.

The show, directed by visionary Duane Richards II, is … both a love letter and a memory, a hope and a reckoning. Nothing is off-limits – politics, police brutality, gentrification, mental health, masculinity, wealth, status, food, sports, love, education, opportunity, bullying, history – and every topic, every reference, is addressed honestly and eloquently. To pull this off is a tremendous feat, especially in our current climate, but its ability to do so in a way that communicates reverence, frustration, and hope is what makes From Gumbo to Mumbo absolutely artful.

READ THE FULL REVIEW
LEARN MORE AND BUY TICKETS


Current Productions

Learn about the productions that are currently playing and coming up next at Keegan.

Box Office

Learn how you can buy Keegan tickets or become a subscriber to see great programming for less.