• 64°

Strong performances grace sensitive production of ‘Next Fall’

“Next Fall” is a sensitive play about love and its many forms. It has humor, tenderness, anger, fear, redemption — all the things that make us human.
St. Thomas Players’ production at Lee Street theatre is well worth your time, especially if you’ve gone through the loss of someone you love. It is the story of a gay couple who love each other despite the vast difference in their beliefs — one is Christian and the other has no belief whatsoever — and the people who love them.
Director Jennifer Hubbard gathered an excellent cast and treats the play with the good-heartedness that it needs. Sponsored by Salisbury Pride and the Cataldo family, “Next Fall” brings an important discussion to the stage.
Luke, played by the adorable and charming Patrick Hogan, is the Christian who says grace before meals and urges Adam, the non-believer, to accept Jesus so they’ll meet again in heaven.
Tony Moore is the right actor to play Adam. He has so much appeal and is so comfortable on stage that the audience immediately identifies with him. Adam has some serious questions about sin and forgiveness and Luke tries to explain his beliefs. Luke knows what he’s doing is a sin, but is convinced that knowing Jesus and praying will ultimately save him. Adam doesn’t believe in anything, not even himself. He’s a hypochondriac, always assuming he’s going to die, so it’s ironic that Luke is the one who is desperately injured in a traffic accident.
Moore plays Adam’s insecurities and self-searching with the right amount of finesse. As the two argue about faith, it’s sad to see them so far apart in understanding. Sad that this one thing is an insurmountable barrier.
Luke is a young man comfortable in his sexuality, until it comes to his parents, who still don’t know. It sort of stretches belief that they don’t. There are so many signs.
His hard-driving father is disgusted by the mere idea, and a firm believer in every letter of the Bible, literally. He never understands who Luke loves and who loves him back. But Butch loves him, and he’s taught Luke a lot, given him his faith. Barnet Sherman is Butch, a hard-driving successful man who wanted Luke to be a lawyer. He finally admits Luke is a good actor and he’s happy that his son is happy. Sherman takes on a tough role and makes Butch come to life.
Luke’s mother, played excellently by Carrie Poole, is a mess left over from an earlier era. She was not there for Luke. She couldn’t take the pressure of raising him, yet he needed her so much. Poole captures the role so well and plays it with such genuine emotion that it’s hard to fault her, no matter how self-centered and flighty she is. She comes to see the truth of Adam and Luke’s relationship.
Alice Rich is very sympathetic as Holly, one of Adam’s friends, who comes to love Luke, too. She is a sort of sounding board and peacemaker for them, a nurturer they both need. Rich thoroughly becomes Holly.
Tim Campbell is strong as supporting character Brandon, who loved Luke, and loves his Bible. He creates a strange line in his head for what’s right and what’s wrong. He and Adam are not friends, but Adam needs someone to help him understand Luke.
The play is a good example of opening up a tough subject and treating it in a sensitive way. There’s no open condemnation, no ugly confrontations, though one comes close. Its message really is this: We must love one another while we can, accept our differences and compromise. We don’t know how long we have in this world. Forgiveness is always possible.
“Next Fall” is a good choice for St. Thomas Players, which seeks to “explore and enhance the close relationship between the arts and one’s spiritual life.”
Performances continue tonight and Saturday and July 24-26 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Lee Street theatre. Tickets are $15 general admission and may be purchased at www.leestreet.org/tickets or by calling 704-310-5507.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Two men escape from Rowan County Detention Center, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards

Local

Cheerleading team competes at Disney

Education

Salisbury High to celebrate football, swimming champions with parade

High School

High school girls soccer: Isley, Webb lead all-county team

Local

Spencer awarded $10,000 to develop trails at Stanback Forest

Books

‘Tails and Tales’ coming to library this summer

Local

Public Records: March Deeds

Entertainment

Salisbury Symphony’s ‘Return to the Concert Hall’ available May 24-31

Coronavirus

Salisbury teen becomes one of first in age group to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Business

Local farm and creamery poised to add goat yoga, artisan goat cheese to offerings

Local

Pandemic’s impact, uncertainty of transit funding prompt request to eliminate Rowan Express service