Atlanta Art Reviews by Susan K Asher
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‘Next Fall’ at Actor’s Express

2012 January 19
by Susan Asher

Murphey, Benzinger, French, Levison; Photo: Offhand

If there are a couple of good things about “Next Fall” at Actor’s Express, it would have to be the fine acting by Patricia French as Arlene and William S. Murphey as Butch, and a quick flash of music by Philip Glass during a scene change.

Anything else, good?

A few jolts of humor, some basic humanitarian points: we should all be equal no matter our creed, sexual orientation, religion or color.

Sorry to say, nothing else here folks.

On stage, there is rarely a true connection between Luke and Adam. Their candle-maker boss, Holly (Jennifer Levison),says lines but fails to connect with anyone.

Whether it’s the fault of the play or the director, something does not gel. Although the play is no masterpiece, by itself it probably isn’t bad. But when you watch it with actors who fail to connect to one another and actually come to life on stage rather than just say lines, it’s hard to tell whether the play could be good.

When Luke (Joe Sykes) winds up in the hospital after a traffic accident, his parents (Arlene and Butch), friends and live-in lover, Adam (Mitchell Anderson), and former lover Brandon (John Benzinger) meet up in the hospital. Scenes flash forward and back from the couple’s first encounter to Luke’s final demise.

I’ve seen staged readings with more life than this production.

“Next Fall” by Geoffrey Nauffts, directed by Kate Warner, runs through Feb. 11 at Actor’s Express.

In March Actor’s Express presents the Atlanta premiere of “The Motherf**ker With the Hat, named “Top Ten of 2011” by the New York Times.

 

2 Responses Post a comment
  1. Brandon Thompson permalink
    January 20, 2012

    Agh! I did it again! I stopped by your blog though I said I wouldnt…

    Which made me realize… What is this??

    This is no more a review than me singing 3 of my favorite songs in my living room would be a “caberet.” This is not a reviewer speaking, this is clearly the opinion of a rejected actor.

    I will surely see this show. Your poor opinion of it makes me want to see it all the more.

    Hey, “press” is press right? But lets be honest… Who takes this opinion seriously? I’d love to know.-

  2. January 20, 2012

    Hi Brandon,
    You really don’t want me to “like” everything. I have spoken to quite a few newspaper reviewers in Atlanta, and they said they play it safe by not panning local shows to support the theater. I love theater and want the best. I hold Atlanta up to the same high expectations I hold to theaters in New York. Very few things are great. “Grey Gardens” at Actor’s Express was great and the acting was superb. You’ll see I gave it a great review. I just saw Carnage at the Alliance and will review it this weekend. It was great theater, but it wasn’t perfect. In my review I will say what about it was great, and I’ll say what about it wasn’t.

    Brandon, I could say “Next Fall” was great. But I am here to give my truthful opinion. Most movies and plays I see are mediocre. Some are good. Few are great. But know this, when you see that I write something is great, you’ll know it really is great!

    Speaking of great, “Avenue Q” at the Horizon Theatre is great! If it features the same cast it did last year, it rivals the “Avenue Q” national touring company’s production.

    Thanks for stopping by, If you like “Next Fall,” feel free to drop by my blog again and say what you liked about it. And if there is something you don’t like about it, feel free to say that too. : )

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