Critics: Mu’s ‘Middle Brother’ ambitious, heartfelt

Mu Performing Arts presents the world premiere of “Middle Brother,” a new play about the experience of a Korean adoptee trying to reconcile his Midwest upbringing with his Korean roots.

Critics found the play ambitious and funny, but not really cohesive.

Middle Brother runs through September 28 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis
Michal Daniel

From John Olive at HowWasTheShow.com:

Sharp plays the lead, Billy (Sharp stars as well as writes; Middle Brother is definitely the Eric Sharp show) with a goofy and goony befuddled flair that entertains endlessly (and still makes me giggle to think about it). Sharp single-handedly pulls Middle Brother up onto a genre-busting level.

From Lisa Brock at the Star Tribune:

“Middle Brother” isn’t a long piece (100 minutes), but at times it seems padded with unnecessary material that wanders off-track, such as comic interludes with two KAL flight attendants. The plotline of Billy’s journey is mirrored throughout by an ancient tale of two brothers during the Joseon Dynasty. It’s an interesting layer that adds depth, as well as visual drama, to Billy’s dilemma, but the connections between the two stories are sometimes tenuous.

The cast of Middle Brother, written by Eric Sharp and directed by Robert Rosen.
Michal Daniel

From Chris Hewitt at the Pioneer Press:

As “Middle Brother” began, I found myself congratulating it on making sparing use of direct address of the audience, a tactic that is employed too often in contemporary plays. But this may be a play that would benefit from more of it because it would afford us more of Sharp’s point of view. He’s a witty and perhaps too-modest performer, and “Middle Brother” could use more of him.

From Ed Huyck at City Pages:

Middle Brother is a play I desperately wanted to like. Its heart is huge, and Sharp has poured plenty of himself into the work. If it could stay out of its own way, Middle Brother has the potential to not only illuminate a piece of world and personal history, but provide plenty of humor and emotional heft as well.

“Middle Brother” runs through Sept. 28 at the Southern Theater. Have you seen it? What did you think?

  • Brad Koehn

    I saw it and was entertained, though occasionally (and, I suspect, intentionally) confused. My wife, an adoptee who traveled to a foreign country on her own at a similar age, was really drawn into the imagery and emotion of the performance. I found the acting first-rate and I’m amazed at the versatility of the actors.