REVIEW: Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing

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I just got home from seeing the Cincinnati Reds crush the Milwaukee Brewers.  There’s something so upbeat, positive, and hopeful about baseball.  Going to a live game is a fun experience; it’s no wonder it’s still consider America’s past time.

So, I wonder why the creators of SATCHEL PAIGE AND THE KANSAS CITY SWING have created a baseball play so dreary and bitter.  Overly long, this production suffers from the same problems as FLY – there was an emphasis on style rather than substance.  At least with FLY, though, the substance was wrought with drama.  PAIGE is a bleak character study.

It didn’t need to be.

Most of the acting was good, especially the work of Robert Karma Robinson as the title character.  With a  better script, he would have shone brighter.  Also, the technical aspects of the show were spectacular.  The rain, the lightning, the turntable and set design all work well.   And I can’t find anything wrong with the acting, minus  one of the performers who, on opening night, didn’t have a basic grasp on his lines.  In theatre at this level, this is inexcusable.

Fans of baseball, swing music, or historical fiction may be drawn to this play – and I hope lots of people see it.  And I hope lots of people think it’s a home run!  But for me, it was a strike out.

SATCHEL PAIGE AND THE KANSAS CITY SWING runs through May 21st at the Playhouse in the Park.  Click here for more information.