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BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP Theatre
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Mar 22, 2019, 13:40
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Through March 31
BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP Theatre

Off-duty white cop shoots plainclothes Black cop and leaves him permanently injured.
It happens in the frenzied circumstances of some crime incident and is never right.
These incidents are the basis of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ “Between Riverside and Crazy,” the story of an off-duty Black cop drunk in an after-hours bar cops weren’t supposed to enter, shot by a rookie White cop who may have used the “N” word in the shooting.
Walter “Pops” Washington (John Vines) is bitter and angry and not willing to finally settle with the city eight years after the incident which may (or may not) have put him in a wheelchair.
He has lost his wife and his son Junior (Gabriel Roberts) has done prison time and is a small-time fence.
Pops is also putting up another felon, Oswaldo (Alejandro Gomez), who can’t kick a drug habit although he’s claiming to be clean.
There’s also son Junior’s sexy girlfriend Lulu (Melinda Capeles), who is living in the rent-controlled apartment on Riverside Drive.
It’s a family, although a very dysfunctional one.
The city is putting pressure on Pops by trying to evict him from he apartment on which he’s apparently not paying rent.
He’s also being pressured by the NYPD to finally settle the lawsuit and sign an agreement to stop saying the cop who shot him used the “N” word.
Pops is being pressured personally by the ambitious, self-aware police Lieutenant Caro (Dave Mitchell) who is in a tight relationship with Detective O’Connor (Lisa Vitrano), who had Pops as her training officer straight out of the police academy
There are mind games being played here, particularly good cop/bad cop.
You may not like Pops and may think he’s making strange decisions but he’s a strong personality, believing he’s doing the right things.
Then, he meets a Church Lady (Victoria Perez) to the point he has a heart attack while having sex.
The story spins from there.
The key to what Guirgis is doing lies in the play not ending where you think it’s going.
These aren’t nice pleasant people.
They are people trying to get by, trying to make it through the next day, perhaps people like most of us.
Perhaps only Caro is a bad person and he’s the kind of guy you can understand, ambitious without concern for what he might do to other people, like his significant other.
There are no weak spots in the cast and some really strong performances from Vines and Mitchell, the colliding cops.
Lou Iannone contributed the effective set, especially the deck on the apartment building roof.
“Between” is a psychological story, with some motives never quite clear.
There are a lot of moving parts in the script and twists and turns and a little bit of stoned thought, maybe more than a little.
Director Scott Behrend likes these interior stories, mixing the surface story and the mental processes behind them.
The audience can see both and it should see this production.
There are a lot of issues at play in “Between Riverside and Crazy,” set in Manhattan but applicable in a lot of places.

A.W.

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