On the surface, Marcus Gardley has written a kind of Southern fairy tale about hatred and racism and rejection in every tongue confess, the world premiere of which is christening Arena Stage's new Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle. It's an emotionally difficult work that guards itself against obvious message or sympathy. Evil is as complicated as good, and understanding either requires a powerful imagination or complete and utter faith. It is, without question, a strongly devised piece of theater that can be admired for its creator's understanding of what it is to write an intelligent and thought-provoking work. And Phylicia Rashad is magnetic, just one of several gripping performances. To Jan. 2. Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $40 and up. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
Read Tom Avila's full review here.