Angry, Raucous & Shamelessly Gorgeous – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

What options might you have if you are an acclaimed avant-garde performer who has left America, the land of your success, for a quarter of a century and now want to make a triumphant return? For Anna Campbell who flamboyantly secured her career performing “Naked Wilson,” a recitation of the male voices of playwright August Wilson while unclothed, the time is ripe. Now she has an invitation to perform at an Atlanta arts festival and she views it as a welcome gift.

To enter the fascinating world of Ms. Campbell, as brought to compelling life by the talents of Terry Burrell, run to the Hartford Stage by Sunday, February 6 for Pearl Cleage’s highly entertaining “Angry, Raucous & Shamelessly Gorgeous.” Anna has excitedly returned to Atlanta with her good friend and confidante Betty, played by a supportive and realistic Marva Hicks. They are busy dreaming of all the accolades to come when Anna returns to the spotlight. Having lost her fortune to poor investment advice, Anna is eager to reestablish her financial well being as well as secure her place in theatrical history.

Enter Cynthia D. Barker as Kate, the competent woman who is orchestrating a tribute to Anna, not a return to the stage as Anna believes. Kate has hired a newcomer, Pete, an openly opportunistic Shakirah Demesier, to recreate Anna’s roles.

To say Anna is upset about the change in plans is an understatement. She is furious and outraged, ready to attack Pete verbally and physically, Their confrontation and ultimate resolution are wonderful to behold, especially on Collette Pollard’s inviting set, with Kara Harmon’s lovely costumes and Susan V. Booth’s outstanding direction.

For tickets ($30-100), call Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. There is a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. February 5 and an open captioned show Sunday, January 30 at 2 p.m. You must show your vaccination card and wear your mask.

Take a bumpy and boisterous ride with Anna as she resumes control of her life, one that is suddenly running in wild directions in the rain.

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