Next Fall: Round House Theatre Stages the Recent Broadway Hit
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The last date listed for Next Fall was Sunday February 26, 2012 / 3:00pm.
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It's 1969 and change is in the air. But for Memphis, the owner of a rundown diner in a dying Pittsburgh neighborhood, the civil rights movement takes a back seat to more immediate problems. His diner has been slated for demolition in the city's urban renewal plan, but he has a competing offer from a predatory businessman. Caught between idealism and brutal reality, Memphis struggles to determine the fate of the place where his customers gathered for decades to share their struggles, hopes and dreams. Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson's searing, humorous, and potent portrait of African-American life in the '60s tells a complex story of the inner lives of ordinary people at a turning point in American history. Learn More
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Goldstar Member
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A Timely Meditation on Sexual Identity, Love & Loss
Reviewed by Victoria D.
As the country heatedly debates the civil liberties of the GLBT community, Round House Theatre offers a timely meditation on the complexities of sexual identity, love and loss in the play, "Next Fall." In it, a group of friends and family confer in a hospital waiting room as Luke, a (sometimes) closeted gay actor, remains unconscious after a tragic accident. As his life hangs in the balance, each of Luke’s loved ones struggles to boost morale and temper emotional jabs as the going gets not only tough, but downright brutal.
Though a play largely about confronting one’s skeletons in the midst of crisis, "Next Fall" is mostly blithe and upbeat, the characters self-effacing and refreshingly flawed. Tom Story effortlessly juggles a constantly fluctuating range of emotions as the lead character, Adam, a forty-something hypochondriac whose romance with Luke challenges his worldview. Likewise Kathryn Keller is memorable as Luke’s batty, but well-intentioned mother Arlene, whose social faux pas and zany stories serve as comic relief. Dawn Ursula also delivers a beautifully grounded performance as Holly, loyal friend and the play’s consistent voice of reason. Unfortunately actor Alexander Strain’s stoic portrayal of Luke’s once close now distant friend, Brandon seems out of place amongst an ensemble of colorful characters with much more strongly developed backstories.
Most unforgettable, however, is the youthful and sensitive portrayal of Luke (told in flashback) by Chris Dinolfo particularly when juxtaposed against Kevin Cutts’ intense and equally impressive portrayal of Butch as Luke’s mannish and unyielding father. Despite the similar Christian values of their characters, Dinolfo expertly depitcts Luke’s devotion to his religion with naivety and benevolence while Cutts portrays Butch as a man much more dogmatically bound to his faith. The end result is a tense, heartbreaking and deeply relatable struggle between father and son. Equally convincing is the chemistry between Dinolfo and Story, who are not only lovers in the play, but who are a couple off-stage as well.
Also notable is director Mark Ramont’s masterful balance of the play’s non-linear structure. Set designer, Daniel Conway’s rotating set certainly helps, making clear the numerable transitions between scenes set in the past and present. Likewise Daniel Maclean Wagner’s intuitive lighting design and Matthew Nielson’s sound composition are together a successful shadowy and emotive concoction – moody without becoming melodramatic.
A play with but a miniscule flaw, "Next Fall" is full of enough familiar humor to make it worth the tear or two audiences will inevitably shed by the story's touching end.
The performance is recommended for audiences ages 15 years old and older.