The M Ensemble's Joe Turner Lacks Dynamic Range

But you'll leave the theater feeling on the verge of a miraculous revelation, despite the flawed performance.

Alexandra Nimmons and Herman Carabali II
Patricia E. Williams
Alexandra Nimmons and Herman Carabali II

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Written by August Wilson. Directed by John Pryor. With Keith Wade, Carolyn Johnson, Chat Atkins, Edward Kassar, Curtis Allen, Herman Carabali II, Alexandra Nimmons, Amber Wilson, Randall Heidelburg, Lela Elam, and Christina Alexander. Through December 31. The M Ensemble, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy, North Miami; 305-895-8955, www.themensemble.com

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In the end, the meaning has something to do with souls, memories, histories, and a great host of other unquantifiables — which were explored in Wilson's work with such clarity and humanity that you can leave the theater feeling on the verge of some miraculous revelation, even after a flawed performance. Under ordinary circumstances, thinking about a man like Joe Turner is difficult, and the kinds of men who labored under a Joe Turner — what was done to them, how and what they must have thought of themselves and their world — is a great and terrible mystery. Wilson's writing strides right up to the edge of that mystery and knocks at it, hammers it, pummels it. There is never a breakthrough (at the crucial moments, Wilson always dips away from explanation and resorts to poetry), but at least Joe Turner lets us wonder what might be back there.

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