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Theatre Review: ‘Ruined,’ at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre

(Photo by Mark Garvin, provided)

(Photo by Mark Garvin, provided)

Nelson_Bob--FEATURE-img Bob Nelson
Bob Nelson is a veteran of more than 50 years in broadcasting, and the...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Philadelphia Theatre Company is concluding its current mainstage season with a production called “Ruined.”

Lynn Nottage’s energetically produced Pulitizer Prize-winning drama is set against the ugly civil war in the Republic of the Congo.

The play is patterned in the style of such heavyweight playwrights as O’Neill and Dreiser, and it’s a work as wild as it is elaborately staged.

The scene is a combination bar-and-brothel run by a passionate Mother Courage who runs her business with the help of a friendly salesman who urges her to take in two young girls who’ve been raped and brutalized by rebel soldiers.

What we have for almost two hours is a colorfully energized mix of anger and brutality set against  professional song and dance.
“Leave you bullets at the bar!” is what Mama demands of her customers, but what the girls know is that nastiness is never far away.

There’s considerable talent displayed in this production.   “Ruined” offers an impressive display of bargaining and bitterness that may take your breath away, although some say takes too long to unwind.

The show is set to run through June 12th at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, in Philadelphia.

Reviewed by Bob Nelson, KYW Newsradio 1060

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