Last updated 2:03AM ET
October 1, 2014
Prairie Region News
Prairie Region News
Theatre B Comedy "Next Fall"
(2011-09-30)
(Prairie Public) - The ninth season opener from Theatre B is Next Fall, by Geoffrey Nauffts. If you have been in the audience at Theatre B through the years, you've seen a theatre company grow. With increasing production values, this little theatre that could creates interesting theatre art for our community.
Next Fall, directed by Pam Strait, fits the Theatre B style perfectly with a contemporary story played by a small cast. This show features excellent acting, and Matt Burkholder's comedic sense is a highlight of the play. It is with delicious deliberation Burkholder portrays the 40 year old homosexual Adam, unhappy with his age and his life, falling for a young waiter of the Fundamentalist Christian faith. Next Fall deals with the interesting dilemma of faith versus reality, as the young gay Luke, convincingly played by Colin Froeber, hides his lifestyle from his disapproving family but lives and loves with Adam. We see the strain of living with a partner with basic belief differences played out, with conversations and differences never resolved.
As the young lover Luke's parents, Laurie Baker and Perry Rust are on the mark as the Southern Fundamentalist family with secrets of their own. Ms. Baker brings a larger-than-life mother, simultaneously hysterical and painful, sucking the air out of every room she enters. In the role of the deliberately oblivious father, Perry Rust is strong and interesting to watch.
Two other characters round out the cast: Phaidra Yunker as Holly, the shopkeeper friend and employer of Adam and Luke, and Blaine Edwards in the role of Brandon, a former lover of Luke's. Edwards pulls off the intriguing role of friend to Luke, written so the audience doesn't quite know their relationship history, except that they share religious views. Phaidra Yunker is delightful as usual, this time as the friend and boss of Luke and Adam. We see her love and support of the gay couple as a deep and genuine friendship.
Gabriel Gomez returns as scenic designer for this play, with a clever, well-executed set that works well for the piece. The intimate size of the stage at the Main Avenue Theatre is a recurring problem, however, and occasionally we are left feeling crowded and awkward, with too much acting in one tiny space. Theatre B consistently offers up appropriate lighting and sound design, and Next Fall is no exception.
This play takes the comic approach to difficult and mismatched relationships, opting for the barb and joke instead of a deeper look, but it is well done humor and worth the chuckles. Next Fall, performed by Theatre B, runs through October 15th.

For Prairie Public, I'm Brandy Lee.
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