CJ Guion

Last weekend, Tyler Perry brought his stage play Madea’s Big Happy Family to the Carolinas. On Thursday and Friday night, the play was showcased at the RBC in Raleigh and on Saturday, the show was in Fayetteville at the Crown Coliseum Complex.

The show opens at the doctor’s office with Shirley (Chandra Currelly-Young) and Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis, aka Ella “House of Payne”). Shirley is terminally ill and wants to gather her whole family together to give them news at the same time, in hopes that it draws them closer to God. She is given four to six weeks to live, and her main goal before passing is that she is able to rekindle her broken family.

Shirley has five grown children with different lifestyles and finds it difficult to bring them all together. Joyce has no life of her own, but takes care of her mom; Tammy has a troubled marriage and two boys in college; Kimberly is spoiled and disrespectful to her husband and family; Byron is young and in the streets; and Donnie has special needs. Aunt Bam, the closest relative does more harm than good at times.

Then there’s Madea (Tyler Perry)! It’s up to Madea to solve all the family problems including Uncle Monroe’s issues and the family mechanic working on her car. In a time of crisis Madea puts the family life into perspective with a hilarious twist on financial difficulties, drugs, and most importantly – family secrets. The next generation has a lot to learn. In her own way, she expresses deliverance won’t change you to be someone else, but will allow you to be who you really are.

All in all, the play was a good experience. Parking was hectic. The musical numbers were good. You can always expect Madea to be up to something with her wise cracking jokes and humorous actions. The story was well paced, but I did not feel like all the loose ends were tied at the end of the play. Some events happened during the play that were never resolved by the end. It was kind of confusing and hard to take one of the characters serious during the play who was the special needs child of the family. One minute he’s mentally challenged and the next he seemed like the next contestant of American Idol. Other than those issues it was a good story; the usual Tyler Perry format. So if you are a fan of that, be sure to catch the play when it comes out on DVD.

* Synopsis excerpts from “Madea’s Big Happy Family” Program. *