Acting Reviews

Emcee in “Cabaret”
2012 for William Peace University Theater

•  Listed among Best Lead Performances for 20012.

As the leader of this licentious band of pirates, Derrick Ivey’s Emcee is insidious and captivating, with a manner and visage at times reminiscent of The Threepenny Opera’s antihero, Captain Macheath.

— Byron Woods, The Independent

Golberg in “The Birthday Party”
2011 for Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern

Ivey play(s) Goldberg as a stiff, smarmy senior officer; when he turns on the charm, the bromides and sentimental clichés flow like molasses, deliberately gumming up conversations with the locals…. But the aftermath, in the disastrous titled party and denouement on the next day, leave us appropriately unsettled. In the final scene, Goldberg seems to be frantically fumbling through his endless string of clichés, searching for the one or two he actually still believes.

— Byron Woods, The Independent

Photographer in “Oh the Humanity”
2010 for Manbites Dog Theater

Derrick Ivey begins as a low-keyed photographer, but turns intensely gripping when imagining himself a wounded soldier from the old photo.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

(5 Stars) Majesty is represented here by actor Derrick Ivey, smiling like the Cheshire Cat as the lights go down, making that spiritual reminder as smooth and snappy as chocolate spiced with cayenne.

— Kate Dobbs Ariail, The Independent

Ted in “God’s Ear”
2010 for Manbites Dog Theater

Derrick Ivey’s Ted is in a constantly off-balance daze, trying to maintain composure but heartbreakingly adrift…. One of the most rewarding evenings of contemporary theatre in the Triangle in the last several seasons.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

…(D)eeply engaging…. Derrick Ivey, giving a subtle, warm performance….

— Kate Dobbs Ariail, The Independent

Martin Dart in “The Receptionist”
2009 for Manbites Dog Theater

Dart is played by the versatile Derrick Ivey, fresh from his dual roles in “Act a Lady.” Ivey is a bit like Robert Duvall, a kind of shapeshifter. You see him and then you check your program … could that be him, the same guy who just two months ago had rounded shoulders under a dweeby cardigan? Here he’s all angles and trouser creases, upright as a general. Beautifully dressed, his menace wafts gently around him like a cologne. He plays a few things for laughs; but he never overplays, so his character is truly threatening. Without giving away the plot, I think I can say that Martin Dart represents the devil in the details of the U.S. government of recent years.

— Kate Dobbs Ariail, Classical Voice of North Carolina

Director Jeff Storer has cast experienced players adept at characterization and comic timing…. Derrick Ivey infuses Dart with palpable malevolence under the smooth surface.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

Miles/Lady Romola/Valentino in “Act a Lady”
2008 for Manbites Dog Theater

… (N)othing less than delicious…. Derrick Ivey’s Joan Crawford turns as the debased Lady Romola and the quietly courageous Miles were a high point.

— Byron Woods, The Independent

Derrick Ivey supplies a finely drawn balance between meek Miles offstage and outrageous Lady Romola on stage, transmitting delightful lunacy as her ghost in Act Two.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

Derrick Ivey in particular is amazing in his three roles. Not only is he the mild-mannered Miles, but he morphs into the crazed Lady Romola — and into her erstwhile lover Valentino. His transformation is so complete in each that it is hard to remember that it is all the same actor.

— Kate Dobbs Ariail, Classical Voice of North Carolina

Cook in “Mother Courage and Her Children”
2008 for Justice Theater Project

Derrick Ivey… brings his fierce gravitas to the character of the Cook.

— Adam Sobsey, Raleigh News and Observer

•  Honorable Mention, Best Music in Theater for 2008.
Derrick Ivey’s Cook memorably warbl(ed) Brecht’s “Song of Solomon” like an old-time radio idol….

— Byron Woods, The Independent

Howie in “Rabbit Hole”
2007 for Manbites Dog Theater

•  Listed among Best Lead Performances for 2007.
… worthy of superlatives… one of the most compelling portrayals of loss I’ve seen in months on the regional stage.

— Byron Woods, The Independent

The Historical Event (21 roles) in “How I Got That Story”
2007 for Deep Dish Theater

The show must have an extremely talented actor as The Historical Event to make the piece work.  No worries here with Derrick Ivey…. His range and depth carry him through the extremes of the one-armed junkie photographer and the inscrutable leader Madame Ing to three-dimensional portraits of a politically savvy guerilla and a heartbreakingly desperate prostitute, all attacked with relish for detail.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

•  Listed among Best Supporting Performances for 2007.
Ivey adeptly portrays the 21 characters…  distinguished less by the costuming than the acuity of Gray’s dialogue and Ivey’s mastery of gesture, thus bringing to life characters that include an American G.I. and a weary nun, a dissident monk and a manhandled harlot….  (A) daunting endeavor inherently worthy of a trip to the theater…. (A) colorful swirl of transformation.

— Megan Stein, The Independent

In a series of roles that he brings to life seemingly without effort, Derrick Ivey plays Everyone Else in Am Bo Land. This requires not only switching costumes but viewpoint, language, agility, and even gender. Ivey is remarkably adept at all of it, especially his brief stint as Madame Ing …. Not only does he seem perfectly comfortable inside this woman’s skin, but he also completes a massively spectacular dance…. This gymnastic feat earned Ivey spontaneous applause Friday night.

— Alan R. Hall, Classical Voice of North Carolina

The Photographer in “At the Vanishing Point”
2007 for Manbites Dog Theater

•  Listed among Best Lead Performances for 2007.
Derrick Ivey… was entrancing from his first words, and his blend of delicate feeling, obsessive ordering and visual philosophizing were most satisfying.

— Kate Dobbs Ariail, The Independent

Derrick Ivey… plays the photographer with down-to-earth directness, low-key humor and engaging warmth…

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

Edgar in “King Lear”
2007 for Peace College Theater

Derrick Ivey plays Edgar, the son of the Earl of Gloucester, with fearless abandon, especially during his pretense as a lunatic, racing around in a dirty blanket and little else.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

Martin in “The Goat or Who is Sylvia?”
2006 for Manbites Dog Theater

•  Listed among Best Lead Actors for 2006.
…(A)nother landmark performance…. From the first notes of charm–and fundamental distraction–Ivey portrays both the enchantment and bewilderment of a man swept off his feet by an impossible situation. As the common ground shatters beneath his feet, Ivey’s Martin appears to fold at times like human origami, twisted nearly in two both by the need — and the complete inability — to make anybody begin to understand what’s happened to him.

— Byron Woods, The Independent

… packs a fearsome punch that leaves you reeling with shock and awe….  Ivey’s gradual meltdown from confident banterer to disheveled mutterer is valiantly limned….

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

Derrick Ivey… creates another truly unforgettable character with his remarkable portrait of poor, bewildered, tongue-tied Martin Gray, trapped in the throes of a passion that he cannot quite understand—yet hopeless to extract himself from his forbidden love for Sylvia—and on the verge of losing everything (family, friends, career) that he cherishes.

— Robert McDowell, Classical Voice of North Carolina

Orson Welles in “Orson’s Shadow”
2006 for Deep Dish Theater

Derrick Ivey adds another impressive portrayal to his gallery, going beyond mere mimicry of physical and vocal attributes (although these are astonishing) into the depths of this tormented, disillusioned soul.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

As the show’s title character, Derrick Ivey shows his own monstrous talent in portraying not just the characterization of The Man, but also the very image of him physically. Ivey has become a chameleon, able to change his character and his appearance to fit the role….

— Alan R. Hall, Classical Voice of North Carolina

Ensemble in “The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen”
2006 for Manbites Dog Theater

Derrick Ivey can impersonate a range of funny characters, from stuttering to pompous, then suddenly rivet with the moving portrayal of the repentant son in “Peer Gynt” or the clueless husband in “A Doll’s House.”

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

Dr. Cukrowicz in “Suddenly Last Summer”
2005 for Peace College Theater

Lynda Clark and Derrick Ivey ably anchor this tense family tragedy as central characters Mrs. Venable and Dr.Cukrowicz.  The former is a wealthy, iron-fisted matron, but one in failing health; a woman so maniacally devoted to the preferred aesthetic image of her deceased son that she’s willing to have unfortunate niece Catharine (Kristal DeSantis) force-lobotomized because she knows–and says–the truth is different. Ivey’s chilly doctor may–or may not–be the man for the job, a condition that fuels this show’s considerable suspense.

— Byron Woods, The Independent

Derrick Ivey turns in another polished performance as Dr. Cukrowicz, capably sustaining a Polish accent and a detached bedside manner.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

Alex in “Dragon Lady”
2005 for Chinchilla House Theater

Derrick Ivey gives one of his best performances as harried, disillusioned Alex, his timing and character detailing richly rewarding.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

Richard Nixon in “Nixon’s Nixon”
2004 for Manbites Dog Theater

•  Listed among Best Lead Actors for 2004.
Derrick Ivey’s performance as former president Richard Nixon must be called breathtaking; indeed, career-defining. His achievement goes well beyond cheap impersonation, as we watch him dig into the absurd egotism, the darkness and the pain of this historic character….”

— Byron Woods, The Independent

Boyet in “Love’s Labours Lost”
2002 for Shakespeare and Originals

•  Listed among Best Supporting Actors for 2002.
After the princess rebuffs them, a drag queen shows the fools the door…. Derrick Ivey camps it up, Egyptian style, as their major domo, Boyet. Edmundson may well play the princess, but in this production there’s no question about who’s the queen. His slicing wit perplexes the not-that-good old boys and the women’s masked machinations effectively confound them.

— Byron Woods, The Independent

Johnny in “Hello and Goodbye” by Athol Fugard
1995 for Triangle Rep/Echo Stage

Derrick Ivey…deliver(s)…. At the beginning of the play… Johnny’s character has a long neurotic monologue. It’s disjointed, rambling and paranoid. Yet Ivey makes it so riveting that the audience is drawn in rather than put off.  And when Hester arrives, threatening to destroy Johnny’s well-ordered universe, Ivey nails every excruciating, ineffectual attempt to get her out. His performance is a tribute to downtrodden little brothers everywhere.

— Sue Olsen McCullough, The Independent

Griever in “Blue Window”
1993 for Manbites Dog Theater

Ivey, as dancer and actor, moves through the piece with elegant grace and an air of loss. In one of the show’s more striking images, he stands with his back to the audience, a symbol of isolation and despair. He’s like a man drowning, being pulled down by currents stronger than he. But there are lots of laughs before he gulps for the last time.

— Bill Morrison, Raleigh News and Observer

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