Theater Review: ‘Synchronic Ink’ Returns to New York

In 2017, “Syncing Ink” debuted at The Flea in Tribeca.

Now, seven years later, the show has moved to the newly opened Apollo Victoria Theater in Uptown, reuniting its original cast. The latest remake remains faithful to its predecessor, with the humor, story, and performances retaining the impact and excellence of the original.

Syncing Ink tells the story of Gordon Morris, a shy high school student unaware of his potential. His school was filled with talented poets and presenters, and Gordon was destined to surpass them all. He did face some obstacles on his way to success, but he drew strength and inspiration from his friends, his family’s legacy, and his cultural heritage to keep him soaring.

NSangou Njikam, who plays Gordon and is also a screenwriter of the show, rooted “Synchronic Ink” in traditional Yoruba culture. Njikam injects a few phrases into the script that initially make the narrative a little difficult to follow, but serve the overall purpose. They illuminate the connections between hip-hop and aspects of blackness, particularly African culture, and reflect the rhythms of traditional African storytelling. The merging of two synonymous art forms, hip-hop and storytelling, is a stroke of genius.

Njikamu’s screenplay and Awoye Timbo’s direction combine to create a remarkable piece of work. One of director Timber’s outstanding features is her innovative use of staging. The choice of an arena stage that surrounds the audience enriches the viewing experience. Additionally, there’s nothing wrong with the show’s pacing, with both acts flowing seamlessly.

The cast consists of the original cast: Njikam as Gordon, Kara Young as Sweet Tea, Adesola Osakalumi as Baba, Nuri Hazzard as Jamal, Elisha Lawson as Ice Cold, and McKenzie Frye as Mona Lisa. Each actor shines individually, but their collective impact is even more profound. Remarkably, the chemistry between Yang and Nikum is palpable as their characters, Sweet Tea and Gordon, embark on an inner journey and learn valuable lessons from each other.

The rivalry between Hazard and Njikam’s characters is also a highlight of the show, providing heated exchanges, poignant moments and memorable comedic spats. The humor of this production shines through both in the dialogue and in the performances. A seasoned comedienne nominated for three consecutive Tony Awards, Young showcases her extraordinary skills. Osaka-ryu also stood out for his nonchalant demeanor and series of humorous one-liners, drawing attention to his performance. Overall, the entire cast is very strong.

“Synchronized Ink” is a fascinating fusion of culture and drama.It makes people laugh and even cry. The hidden theme of family trauma is present throughout the play but contributes significantly to the overall message.

The revival of Synchronic Ink provides the perfect production for the opening of the Victoria Theatre.

Tickets for “Sync Ink” are now on sale.

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