BLKS NYC Reviews and Tickets

76%
(144 Reviews)
Positive
83%
Mixed
14%
Negative
3%
Members say
Funny, Raunchy, Great acting, Entertaining, Edgy

About the Show

Poet Aziza Barnes makes their playwriting debut with this poignant and comic play about three twenty somethings in New York City hunting for intimacy and purpose in a city that doesn’t seem to care.

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Member Reviews (144)

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75
Disturbing, Thought-provoking, Funny, Edgy, Raunchy

See it if Sitcom feel w/explicit sex talk & misadventures, as drinking & weed-smoking girl roommates try to find their way. Many funny moments.

Don't see it if Abuse, racism, fetishism & les/bi mixed into the sexual situations. Lots of yelling. Exaggerated, mentally unbalanced characters.

72
Great staging, Irresolute, Entertaining, Great acting, Raunchy

See it if ur prepared for a frank, vulgar, funny, poignant slice-of-life from 3 black, unabashed millennial roommates "gettin' busy" in the big city.

Don't see it if ur offended by raunchy (but very real & human) sex talk and profanity; ur hoping for a satisfying payoff to the outrageous buildup. Read more

Critic Reviews (21)

The New York Times
May 9th, 2019

"Aiming to be a raucous comedy of misbehavior and a quiet tragedy of mistreatment, it amazingly succeeds at both...It is serious and sad and profoundly human...Crowe-Legacy, Fuller and Gilbert are so delicate with the sadness that it keeps coming as a surprise how merciless they are with the comedy. O’Hara’s direction is key here...'BLKS' suffers from a familiar structural turbulence at the end, as if it’s too big a vehicle to land on a short runway. Still, it lands."
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Time Out New York
May 9th, 2019

“’BLKS’ operates like a sitcom, with ‘Sex and the City’ style leaps of logic, sudden romances, and the requisite piles of coincidence...Every now and then you sense the poet at work...Barnes wants this show to rollick along, and it doesn’t...The production moves too slowly to get into the appropriate gear...Director Robert O’Hara believes that exaggeration is the key; designer Clint Ramos believes a galumphing turntable will keep things swift. Neither of them is right.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
May 9th, 2019

"Her playwriting debut, despite the manic energy of Robert O’Hara’s production, is discouragingly prosaic...Presented in 23-minute-long punchy, raunchy episodes, it might find its groove. But onstage it feels like a missed opportunity, its drama mundane and its comedy mostly overwrought...It’s the highly game trio of actors at the center of 'BLKS' that keep us on board...But the sum of the play’s parts never surprises us, never exceeds our expectations for standard-issue contemporary realism."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 9th, 2019

"Fortunately, for all its overly calculated provocation, the play is also very, very funny at times, which goes a long way toward making up for its thinness...At times the overly broad humor becomes repetitive. But under the energetic direction of Robert O'Hara, 'BLKS' features plenty of laughs...Although all the performers do excellent work, the standouts are Gilbert as the panicked Octavia, and Myers, who charmingly makes the most of the sole male character."
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Theatermania
May 9th, 2019

"Under the snappy direction of Robert O'Hara, the three lead actors savor Barnes's salty language...Barnes's lack of fear as a writer is what makes 'BLKS' a particularly joyous experience...Each of Barnes's characters is a mess in his or her own special way, and it is in their flaws that we are best able to see reflections of ourselves — and laugh-cringe at the mirror's harsh truth."
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Lighting & Sound America
May 10th, 2019

“A raucous, girls'-night-out comedy that veers between delightful, off-kilter hilarity and rank vulgarity, pausing occasionally to embrace a totally unearned moment of seriousness or two...’BLKS’ is marked by a screwball hilarity, best expressed in the lead characters' trash-talking ways...At a certain point, it becomes pretty obvious that ‘BLKS’ is a lot of running around with no particular destination in mind...Following its characters avidly without entirely making them fully engaging.”
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Talkin' Broadway
May 9th, 2019

"Deliciously outrageous, and utterly hilarious...'BLKS' a play by Black people for Black people...and you're going to love it whatever race and sexual orientation you may be...The dialogue is brutally honest and we immediately care about all of them, despite the fact each is deeply flawed and has serious emotional issues...Barnes' play is raunchy and heartbreaking and unmissable."
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New York Stage Review
May 10th, 2019

“Loud and messy and smart—just like the women it depicts—‘BLKS’ is a rambunctious new comedy...If the play turns a mite sentimental in its concluding scenes, the quirky charm of its characters and the words that fly out of their mouths easily compensate. What is especially notable is the playwright’s expressive way with conversation...Barnes’ pungent realistic dialogue embraces a dynamic blend of black vernacular with rich urban slang that sounds wonderfully alive.”
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TheaterScene.net
May 20th, 2019

"Poet Aziza Barnes' first play,'BLKS,' now at MCC, is raucous, vulgar, outrageous and contemporary in Robert O'Hara's hilarious, over-the-top production. Following the adventures of three black women roommates from Brooklyn over a day and a half, it shows us how the Girls are living today - Lena Dunham would approve. However, the loud and busy production in the Newman Mills Theater stage will thrill twenty and thirty somethings, while older people may not be in tune with it."
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CurtainUp
May 9th, 2019

"Barnes's snappy dialogue is brought to vivid life by the three lead performers, and O'Hara...adopts a judicious approach, knowing where to exercise restraint and where to go all out...The script—funny yet thoughtful, raunchy but human—marks a promising playwriting debut from Barnes...Its thoughtfulness and moments of poignancy are skillfully realized through strong direction and an able cast, giving this compelling new work the production it deserves."
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Front Row Center
May 14th, 2019

"It transcends all of those hashtags thanks to the directing and the excellent ensemble cast that combines their talents to lift the play out of sitcom and stereotype and let the audience in past the defensiveness of immaturity...The play is ultimately about something that everyone on this planet strives for, the universal search for love. What it does different is, it puts us in the passenger seat for a great ride in a vehicle that we don’t often get a chance to cruise in to get there."
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T
May 9th, 2019

"'BLKS' has landed rather weakly on the stage of the Newman Mills Theater...The members of the cast do what they can to expose their ennui and their pain. Unfortunately, the set and the direction often get in the way of Aziza Barnes’s seditious script. This current iteration of 'BLKS' plays more like a sitcom than perhaps it should and the seriousness, the somberness of the play’s message becomes lost...It fails to deliver the pathos and ethos necessary to ignite the needed catharsis."
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C
May 9th, 2019

"True, a lot seems to happen during the 24 hours or so in which 'BLKS' takes place, but the play is so cleverly constructed you don't immediately notice. It also never falls into the realm of situation comedy, despite the bucketload of profanity-laced punchlines. Moreover, Barnes smartly interweaves the political and personal throughout the one-act work, even if some of the heavier moments she inserts into the piece can feel a tad heavy-handed."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
May 17th, 2019

"Piles on exaggerated situations but lacks a well-wrought plot, revels in broad sitcom tropes, and uses boldly raunchy dialogue…Directed…with overly pumped up performances in which quiet moments of human connection are only rarely to be found. Shouting too often substitutes for conversation…Hyperactive staging employs a tiresomely revolving set…that tries to keep pace with the multiple locales but succeeds only in drawing attention to itself."
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Gotham Playgoer
May 9th, 2019

"There are some hilarious moments, but they do not cohere into a satisfying whole...The prevailing comic mood is occasionally punctured by casual mention of issues related to the Black Lives Matter movement, as if they were items on a checklist...O’Hara keeps things moving briskly but too frequently encourages the actors to shout. The closer you are to the demographic of the characters, the likelier you are to enjoy the play."
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The Wrap
May 9th, 2019

"Gilbert and Fuller spend too little time together on stage. O’Hara’s fiercely kinetic direction clearly suits these two gifted actors whose gangbuster portrayals take no prisoners...Barnes deftly handles her characters’ sexual fluidity, but near the end of 'BLKS' she adds a few sentimental touches that even Neil Simon didn’t resort to in his 1960s heyday...Seeing the 100-minute 'BLKS' is to tour Brooklyn at night and wake-up wasted. But in a good way."
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Broadway & Me
May 18th, 2019

“An African-American riff on the TV shows ‘Girls’ and ‘Sex and the City’...O’Hara paints with broad strokes that underscore how potty-mouthed and raunchy the women are. And that undermines what Barnes is trying to say about the extra burdens so many young black women bear...O’Hara hits so hard on the humor that the challenges the women face get overshadowed and the intended epiphanies fall flat.”
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Stage Left
May 17th, 2019

“This play lands like the extended pilot episode of TV’s newest hit sitcom...The queer black millennial patois of the central three characters is both refreshing to hear and side-splittingly funny...While exceptionally staged and performed, the play nevertheless hews toward the schematic and ultimately makes a more compelling case for its adaptation on the small screen. That critique can only exist because the characters are so compelling and lovable.”
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Off Script with Dan Dwyer
May 24th, 2019

“A kick-ass, bad-ass, loud, raw, often hilarious, and always vital new play...that lets the dogs out on life in America from the 20something, African American women’s POV...The humor is ostensibly sitcom...Even if her writing can be uneven, at its best 'BLKS' is uproarious social farce whether Barnes intends it to be or not...One of the freshest, most energetic new AMERICAN plays from a new AMERICAN playwright about life in AMERICA.”
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W
May 11th, 2019

"It is very good to hear new voices in the American Theatre and the play 'BLKS' at the new Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space certainly represents new outlooks. This is poet Aziza Barnes' first play script and she doesn't hold back. It is a full bore buoyant bounty of Brooklyn people of color that moves fast and funny through a day in their lives. The real credit for the driving pace goes to director Robert O'Hara's direction which keeps the show moving on the revolving set."
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T
May 22nd, 2019

"O’Hara, who is no stranger to pushing the envelope, has found a perfect match. O’Hara unleashes the poet-turned-playwright’s debut play for the world to take…or leave. Judging from the laughter and verbal response from the audience, most of the crowd chose to take it. Aziza’s dialogue is...Raw, honest, and, at times, unapologetically coarse...The actors do an applaudable job...All in all, ‘BLKS’ is definitely worth seeing.”
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