From left, LaKeidrick Wimberly, Julian Green and Gabriel Christian appear in Theatre Rhino’s production of “The Brother Size.” (Courtesy Steven Ho)

‘Brothers Size’ a vivid slice of bayou life

Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brothers Size” — staged in 2010 by different Bay Area troupes presenting the hot playwright’s three-part “Brother/Sister Plays” in succession in a highly publicized theatrical event — is back in The City.

Theatre Rhinoceros serves up a solid, stand-alone production of the second show in the trilogy, which details the Africa-American experience in the Louisiana bayou in the not too distant past.

“The Brothers Size” tells a rough, and emotional, story of two siblings _ older, straight-laced Ogun (LaKeidrick S. Wimberly), a mechanic, and younger, troubled Oshoosi (Gabriel Christian), devotedly unemployed and recently home from time done in jail.

Desperate, occasionally jovial, they work on their relationship and try to come to terms with their lives.

Darryl V. Jones directs the 100-minute piece with humor, nuance and economy, and the actors — attractive, athletic and sometimes shirtless (not surprising given that Theatre Rhino is the country’s oldest LGBT theater) — give vivid, human performances.

They nicely interpret McCraney’s often theatrical piece, handling the poetry and spirituality (the characters’ names are based on deities worshiped by the Yoruba people of Africa) with finesse.

At the same time, they keep proceedings authentic, from a humorous start to the intense conclusion.

The brothers’ lives are shaken up when Elegba (Julian Green), who spent time “in the pen” with Oshooshi, offers an operating car, and a promise of a better future for his friend, but also triggers unpleasant memories of difficult days.

Set designer Margaret Adair MacCormack sets an evocative scene — a chain in a circle on the ground, tires here and there, and a cloudy sky backdrop — while Jones also provides elegant music direction (including great vocalizations of Al Green and Otis Redding tunes) and Laura Elaine Ellis conjures a bit of excellent choreography.

REVIEW
The Brothers Size
Presented by Theatre Rhinoceros
Where: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; closes Oct. 15
Tickets: $15 to $40
Contact: www.therhino.org

Brothers SizeDarryl V. JonesGabriel ChristianJulian GreenLaKeidrick WimberlyTarell Alvin McCraney. Theatre RhinocerosTheater

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