Theater Review: 'Hit the Wall' -- 2.5 stars
Hit the Wall
How very fitting that “Hit the Wall” — Ike Holter’s documentary-style drama depicting the legendary events that occurred on the night of June 27, 1969, in and around the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village — should be produced at an Off-Broadway theater just a few blocks away from the original riot site.
And with the Supreme Court finally addressing gay marriage, a play about an incident that went on to become a symbol of the gay rights movement would certainly be timely. It’s just too bad the play itself isn’t all that good.
In Eric Hoff’s intimate and immersive production, the audience is seated in-the-round to surround a small playing space that evokes a street outside Stonewall.
The meandering first half of the 90-minute play observes the everyday interactions of stereotypical neighborhood folk such as the drag queen mourning the recently deceased Judy Garland, the draft dodger who looks like he stepped out of a production of “Hair” and the homophobic cop.
The lighting eventually changes to depict an underground gay bar setting. Once a police raid commences, the intensity picks up and the play explores the atmosphere of freewheeling chaos in which dozens unexpectedly decided to fight back against the kind of harassment that had become all but routine to them.
Despite some touching scenes and the advantageous addition of live rock music, “Hit the Wall” ultimately fails to do justice to the Stonewall uprising and the various players involved.
If you go: “Hit the Wall” plays at the Barrow Street Theatre through July 7. 28 Barrow St., 212-868-4444, barrow streettheatre.com.