In a broader sense, O’Hara is criticizing the human tendency to filter the narratives of individuals through a lens of expectations defined by broadly defined demographics. How does a person’s story engage our sympathies, or spark our skepticism, depending on factors like gender, race, class, education, religion, or any other such markers? Turning that same lens on ourselves, to what extent do we edit and recast our own stories depending on our need to justify ourselves, or shift responsibility, or persuade someone else?Family, Addiction And Questioning Truth — Lyric Stage’s ‘Barbecue’ Is Less Party Than Intervention —WBUR The ARTery
" It’s a corrosively comic examination of the culture of addiction as exemplified by two families, one white, one black. Both are battling roughly similar levels of substance abuse, and both possess similarly combative personalities."A raucous 'Barbecue' at Lyric Stage —The Boston Globe
"“Barbecue’’ toys with expectations and assumptions — about race, drugs, identity, recovery narratives, the traditional contours of the family drama, even the events unfolding before your eyes — before upending them. All is not as it seems in “Barbecue,’’ in either the narrow or broad sense."
"It may truthfully be said that there is such a thing as a virtually unreviewable play, especially if it is essentially a compilation of spoilers."Skewering Around with Theatrical Interventions —South Shore Critic
"Though the subject is serious, in the first act there's brilliantly funny spot-on skewering of these equal-opportunity stereotypes who all approach the hot dog barbecue with relish."
"Then comes the second act, quite serious for the most part, though given a comic edge. Suffice it to say that the playwright still has a couple of tricks up his sleeve."
"Get ready to sink your teeth into a "Barbecue" unlike anything you have tasted before."This BBQ is No Sunday School Picnic! —The White Rhino Report
"Once I realized what the playwright was up to, I was hooked. The opening scenes are raucous, ribald and rollicking."
Interview starts at 6:10Jared Bowen's Review of 'Barbecue' —WGBH Arts Editor Jared Bowen
"Simply great theatre!"
It becomes clear that all the siblings could do with a rehab program of their own. To say that the plan concocted for Barbara is incomplete and incoherent does not begin to describe its outcome, unreeled in Act 2, to a fantastic coda.A dysfunctional family gathers around a barbecue grill in Robert O'Hara's play —TheaterMania
It starts when you walk into the theater for its current production of “Barbecue,” and instead of a program, theater-goers are given a flier and told they won’t receive a program until intermission, but that it will be “worth the wait.”Take a Wild Ride with Lyric Stage Company's 'Barbecue' —On Boston Stages
I did wheedle a program before the show, with the promise I would “act like an adult” and not open it. I didn’t, and “Barbecue” unfolded like no show I’ve ever seen.
"Running a little over two hours, the show packs in a heavy dose of comedy and commentary, starting with the intervention itself."Lyric Stage comedy dishes sobering material in 'Barbecue' —The Bay State Banner
"Like “Bootycandy,” the show is highly entertaining, laced with stellar acting and a rich comedic script. It also spotlights the discrepancies in portrayals of race in movies, and satirizes whitewashing by flipping it on its head. Like the O’Mallery’s Taser-ful barbecue, you’ll leave feeling surprised, put off, and maybe a little shocked."
"In Barbecue, the O'Mallery family gather in their local park to share some barbecue and straight talk with their sister. They are the kind of family that comes to an intervention armed with a Taser, even though their own downward spirals rival hers. But that's only the beginning as familial and cultural stereotypes are stripped away."Robert O'Hara's Barbecue Finds Its Lyric Stage Company Cast —TheaterMania
"Don’t be fooled by the wide, bold brushstrokes that give life to Barbecue, Robert O’Hara’s invigoratingly original comedy that opens at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston on April 7. The vibrant characters and deceptive boldness that have fast become O’Hara’s trademark are very much present—deliciously so—yet Barbecue probes its audience to consider truths that run much deeper.A Family Affair, With a Twist: Barbecue at the Lyric Stage —Christopher Ehlers, DigBoston
The allure of Barbecue lies in its conceit and execution rather than its plot, most of which is too exciting and spoiler-ridden to discuss here. But from what little is appropriate for me to reveal here, it may intrigue you enough to experience it for yourself."
“I love that sense that we’re going to gently rock you into the story, but the goal is to get ready to catapult you into something different,” Williams says. “He sucks us into the world of a play and kind of makes us fall in love with it, and as we come to understand and grow more familiar with it he always upends it for us. It feels jarring and deeply interesting but leaves us feeling a little unsettled. And that’s where he really beats us into shape.”Meet the family in 'Barbecue,' and then meet them again —Jeremy Goodwin, The Boston Globe