By Sharon Eberson
New Horizon Theater ends its season with One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, a comedy set in 1970s Philadelphia that deals with the clash of values between middle-class and working-class African Americans.
The title derives from a phrase used in several blues and R&B songs, with the general meaning of “one setback should not impede progress.” Little David Wilkins had his biggest single and reached No. 11 on the U.S. country charts with his song One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show in 1975, following a completely different song with the same title by country and R&B artist Joe Tex, also known as Yusuf Hazziez.
The play by Don Evans premiered in the United States in 1982 and was produced in London in 2013 when Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph praised “its sharp wit, matched with a genuine generosity of spirit.”
Writing in Variety, critic Dave Benedict said the play’s one-liners indicate that “beneath the farcical surface, Evans is launching an attack on the manners and mores of urban Black lives at a pivotal point in the power and representation of African-American lives, four years before The Cosby Show was born.”
The comedy at New Horizon is directed by Eileen J. Morris, May 27-June 12 at Carnegie Library Auditorium in Homewood.
Tickets and details: www.newhorizontheater.org.