Updated: Sep 28, 2019
I’ve seen plays with great stories, with great ensemble casts and great scripts. But every now and then a play comes along that really makes you challenge yourself and beliefs and this one such play.
Admissions is about a woman who runs the admissions department at an elite school in the US who’s main priority is to expand the diversity of the school which they’ve been consistently doing from when she started. Her husband is the Dean of the school and her son, Charlie, is in his final year and has just applied to Yale along with his mixed race friend Perry.
Charlie reacts badly when Perry gets accepted at Yale and he is deferred and he goes on to challenge his beliefs and his parents and also the effectiveness of their actions on diversity.
The play moves along with an intelligent script and the actions moves between moments of hilarity and emotional tension with ease. The playwright doesn’t shy away from showing each of the characters flaws while still making them sympathetic. It has a really strong narrative and exposes the characters with care and a witty use of language.
The cast is strong and all embody their characters fully and maintain a level of emotional tension throughout. While all are excellent particular mention has to be made of Ben Edelman who plays Charlie. He has several difficult monologues which are pitch perfect in delivery. His is a character that could easily be unlikeable but Ben maintains a childish innocence and vulnerability that keeps the audience’s sympathies. That it’s emotionally raw keeps it engaging throughout.
What is really great about this play is that it manages to be both thought provoking and provocative while maintaining a strong narrative and it never falls into the realm of being preachy but does raise questions about privilege, equality and what making a difference means. And in a play about diversity it’s interesting that it’s an all white cast. It doesn’t offer any answers, it just raises questions and you test and review your own viewpoints along with the characters.
I found this to be a compelling and gripping piece of intelligent theatre and I’d encourage you to see it if you want to be challenged – and be prepared to be debating this with friends long after the curtain falls. This gets 4 Laura Michelle-Kelly’s.
It’s on until May 25th and tickets can be bought here: