(Deacon Cuffy Lambkin)—our rarely sober, likeable victim and hero; Sportcoat’s late wife Hetty; and a large supporting cast.
The questions: Why did Sportcoat shoot Deems Clemens in the ear, right in the middle of the project Plaza? Where is the missing Christmas Club money? Will the Elephant ever find true love?
The problems: drugs, alcohol, poverty, prison. Beneath their ever-present anger and antagonisms, the inhabitants of the Cause Houses care about each other. Although we’re sheltered from the worst that happens, this is a side of 1960s New York City we don’t often see—a mix of Italian, Irish, Black and white, hating and loving.
Hilarious and tragic, romantic and adversarial—as several plot threads weave together, finally, it’s the language that draws you in and holds you to the end, as the Irish Sergeant Potts, when confronted with the graceful presence of Sister Gee, feels “all the formal police training in the world was useless when the smile of someone you suddenly care about finds the bow that wraps your heart and undoes it.” You will care, too.
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