Theater Review: Next Fall
Next Fall focuses on Adam, a 40-something candle salesman, who falls for an attractive young actor named Luke. Luke, played with considerable heart by Mark Jacob Chaitin, exists as a seeming contradiction; being a gay man as well as a Born Again Christian. Adam, brought to life by the rare wit of Ryan Hamlin, sardonically battles with his partner’s theology he feels is incongruous with living and loving as a gay man. ‘Hate the sin, but love the sinner.’ Luke tries to convince him that there is stability and a good amount of peace within the structure of his religious beliefs. Told in a series of flashbacks, their 5 year relationship is seasoned by this ongoing debate. The show opens after Luke has been in a terrible car accident and his loved ones gather in the hospital waiting room. Adam must turn to Luke’s estranged mother, Arlene, and father, Butch for answers. Contradiction and complexity are at the heart of this 2010 Tony nominee for best play. At its best, this show encourages us to look past labels to find something more interesting beneath.
The cast gives a spirited performance to meet the level of the subject matter. A stand out is Aja Wiltshire who portrays Holly, a candle store owner and confidante to Adam and Luke. She deftly handles the shifts between the humor and severe drama with tremendous grace and shows more by doing less. The tight space, lovingly referred to as an intimate black box, requires ingenious spacing to transform seamlessly back and forth from a hospital waiting room to a New York apartment. Overall, Next Fall is an insightful and timely work deserving of a good telling.
Location: The BoHo Theatre @ Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago.
Dates: Saturday, April 27 through Saturday, May 25, 2013
Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm
Runtime: Approximately 2 hours with a 10 minute intermission
Tickets: $20 ($10 previews), $15 students & seniors
Available at www.astonrep.com or by calling (773) 828-9129
~ Karl Hamilton, Guest Contributor for 24/7
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