The title of Steve Carter’s 1978 melodrama refers to a brand of rum from Nevis, the Caribbean island where the denizens of the play, set in 1954 Queens, New York, are from. “Ain’t nothing but truth serum,” is how one character labels the libation, and there’s plenty — sometimes too much — truth waiting to be told once the drinking starts. For Jared (Sammie Wayne IV), encased in an iron lung, there’s the truth that on this, his 50th birthday, he longs for release from his resentment and depression. There’s the truth about Jared’s wife, Billie (a miscast Nancy Renee), and how her husband’s once virile and now listless body has wreaked havoc on her sexuality. Then there’s the truth about Jared’s sister, Everelda (Veronica Thompson), and her pathological need to care for her stricken brother. With so much going on it is hard for director Nancy Cheryll Davis to find focus for her mostly capable cast, especially when Carter’s dialogue leans to the histrionic. Underneath it all, though, lies the bitter truth that it is more often we who make the choices that keep us from our own liberation.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: April 18. Continues through May 18, 2008

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