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Posted at 2:48 PM ET, 07/14/2009

'Skywriter': A Twist on the Familiar

By Stephanie Merry
Fringe Festival

"Skywriter" follows the story of an inspirational teacher in a crumbling urban school, so of course my first thought was, "haven't I seen this somewhere before?" Luckily, it becomes clear that there's more to Angry Young Theatre Company's production than its predecessors. After all, Morgan Freeman doesn't wear a light blue lycra superhero costume under his suit in "Lean on Me." But middle school teacher Frank Fletcher does.

I won't give too much away, but let's just say that Frank might have a bit of a personality disorder, the first sign of which we see in a harrowing scene on a Metro platform. Luckily Frank is medicated so that he can function as the electrifying teacher that he is, because there's no way he could possibly have superpowers. Or is there?

While the script occasionally meanders into schmaltzy territory, especially toward the finale, there are enough laughs to counterbalance the overall sentimentality. The cast is also spectacularly chosen, especially Christopher Michael Todd as the well-meaning teacher and Ricardo Frederick Evans, who takes on two roles -- a school principal who's in over his head and a terrifying leather-clad Metro train. I won't begin to explain that one, so instead I'll say: you just have to see it.

-- Stephanie

By Stephanie Merry  | July 14, 2009; 2:48 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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