Pressure-cooker family dramedy rounds out Arvada Center repertory season in fine form
Stick Fly is the last of the Arvada Center’s three repertory shows this season, and it may well be the best. That’s a high bar, since Animal Farm and The Liar are both excellent, but there’s something about Stick Fly that just hits on every cylinder.
This one is beautifully directed by Jada Suzane Dixon, who has her hands full with a relatively complex script that, while it treads familiar ground in the dysfunctional-family-on-vacation realm, also dabbles in race, classism, sexism, inequality and just plain bad behavior. Even with all that, it’s quite funny in places, with the family members’ love for each other popping out between the mayhem.
Lydia R. Diamond’s play is set in 2005 on Martha’s Vineyard. In an opulent summer home owned by a Black family, we first meet the younger, not-so-successful son Spoon (Lavour Addison) and his fiancée Taylor (Constance Swain). At the house getting things ready is Cheryl (Kristina Fountaine), who at first looks like the help but is soon revealed to be someone with a lot more stake in this family.
Older brother Flip (Ryan George), a wealthy plastic surgeon, is on pins and needles about introducing his new, ultra-white girlfriend Kimber (Noelia Antweiler) to his father Joe (Abner Genece).
What follows is a slowly building reveal of tortured relationships, family secrets, new twists to work out and a glaringly absent mother figure whose presence is only seen (but unheard) in phone calls.
Stick Fly takes the old Biff-n-Buffy at the Vineyard trope and turns it on its ear. And while some of the rocks turned over may be more specific to a Black family, much of it is