In this year when what surely can be called the worst presidential campaign in history is taking place, it would not surprise me if you would take a pass on seeing a play about a politician. I could hardly blame you, but in the case of Kenneth Lin’s Warrior Class now playing at the Lyric Stage Company in Boston you would be making a big mistake.In A Class Of Its Own —Boxing Over Broadway
This is a moving and emotional work. It is like watching a game of chess as all involved maneuver to either gain from, suppress, or both from the incidents that occurred twenty years earlier. It turns out one of them is the chess master. During the play, which becomes quite intense, we are faced with asking ourselves questions. Can people change? Is it okay for a victim to become a perpetrator? Is it permissible for a man to use lies and manipulation in order to help a family member? Could any of us be one of the characters? Where is the line that should not be crossed?
The play is engaging, but it ultimately works because the actors ratchet up their performances as the stakes are raised. Berkshire seems like a helpful, reasonable guy doing his mundane job of vetting an Old Acquaintance, but there is a pool of unctuousness that shimmers just beneath his surface. Barkhimer's interpretation creates a character who is easily underestimated, a snake lying dormant until he is suddenly ready to strike. He manipulates the audience at the same time as Berkshire manipulates Lee and Holly. In her scenes with him, Webb rises to the occasion and shows a steely resolve born of Holly's years of struggling to rebuild her life. She has her finest moments when Holly and Lee meet privately to try to agree on a solution, taking command and taking him by surprise. Tow is steady throughout, but masterful in that scene when he has a lightbulb moment that shifts his character's perception of how this is going to end and what he needs to do.Early Voting Projects a Win —Broadway World
...there’s no getting around the pure potency that’s been packed into this hour and a half excursion behind the scenes and into the real machinery of power. Adding to the impact is Elizabeth Cahill’s sound design, with a score that varies from synthy noir to dirty but silken jazz. Also effective is Daniel H. Jentzen’s lighting design, which helps orchestrate the play’s intricate interplay of moods.The Politics of Selling Your Soul —WBUR: The ARTery
[It's] a piece that can deepen as you let it marinate in your thoughts after leaving the theater... Dawn M. Simmons directs the sure-footed Boston premiere of the play at Lyric Stage Company of Boston, leading a very good cast of three through twists and turns.As political drama, 'Warrior Class' plays it cool —The Boston Globe
Warrior Class, Lyric Stage Company's current production of a three-character play by Kenneth Lin, would seem to be nothing if not topical and relevant to these politically hyperventilated days. The playwright poses the question of one's right to be given a second chance and if a person being considered for political office can really change from a previous toxic reality.Polishing the Armor —South Shore Critic
All three actors, in fact, could hardly be better, with Webb given perhaps the hardest role in which to evolve, and Barkhimer a standout both in appearance and performance.
Director Dawn M. Simmons keeps the chess pieces moving quickly around the board at a brisk pace until a stark, sudden ending that may or may not be your cup of tea. But watching three fine actors get to that point over a pressure-packed 80 minutes of an Advanced Placement course in Modern Politics 101 should be everyone’s cup of tea.A Three-Handed Chess Match —On Boston Stages
What makes Warrior Class so compelling is that the characters are not painted in black-and-white, but in multiple shades of grey.A Riveting Examination of (Dirty) Old School Politics (4.5 Stars) —The Theater Mirror: New England Theater Guide
This is an extremely well-written, seamlessly directed and fast-paced drama that reminds us that even without the insanity of the current election, politics is still a very dirty game. At least this version delivers some intellectually stimulating entertainment, instead of dread.
A play ripped from the headlines, about a politician with secrets in his past. Director Dawn M. Simmons keeps the temperature of the Lyric Stage production at a high boil.A play ripped from the headlines, about a politician with secrets in his past. —TheaterMania
The suspense builds as the audience realizes that there are many sides to the truth about these characters, and no outcome can satisfy all of them. The trio works well as an ensemble, quivering with reactions to each new disclosure.
The current production running at Lyric Stage could not be more timely as we stand on the cusp of the end of what has been a brutal election season. "Warrior Class" by Kenneth Lin was first produced in 2012, but is even more poignant in 2016, given the guerilla warfare that has characterized this Presidential election.A Timely and Tumultuous Tale of Political Intrigue —The White Rhino Report
This excellent production will run through November 13th. It is worthy of your attention and a place on your entertainment ballot. Vote with your feet, and with your entertainment dollar.
“Warrior Class” leaves theatergoers on the edge of their seats throughout the performance, and ends with a bang. This play is far too powerful, too authentic, too politically behind-the-scenes and dramatically fascinating to miss, especially during this bizarre political season.Warrior Class Review —Mission Hill Gazette
Director Dawn M. Simmons said, “When you read the script, it reads just like a ‘House of Cards’ episode. The play is more believable and not quite so Shakespearean.”'Warrior Class' reveals costs of political stardom —Sampan
Julius is portrayed by local actor Michael Tow, who spent three months reading Lin’s script and talking to local politicos to get into character. This is Tow’s second lead role at the Lyric Stage, after starring in 2012’s “Chinglish.”
“This is not stereotypical roles of a kung fu artist, restaurant owner or triad gang member,” Tow said. “Here’s a modern politician who is a rising star. It’s exciting to play a role like that.”
[Michael Tow stars in] The Lyric Stage Company's production of Kenneth Lin's political potboiler "Warrior Class," a dark and turbulent three-hander the bears the hallmarks of Lin's prestigious resume (he's also written for Netflix's series "House of Cards") but also sports the psychic claw marks, inevitably projected onto the work, of this election season's real life dramatics. (The play first premiered in 2012, another fractious election year.) As Tow put it during his recent chat with EDGE, this production could hardly be more relevant to the times.Michael Tow: A 'Class' Act —Edge Media Network