Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Review - Next Fall at the Southwark Playhouse

IT must be a gamble for any actor to leave the cosy confines of a successful and relatively stable job and head for pastures new.
But for Charlie Condou, the decision to leave the cobbles of Coronation Street behind for a return to the stage has been a good one.
And he has picked a decent play to do so. Said play is Next Fall, a funny and poignant tale written by Geoffrey Nauffts about two gay guys and their relationship with each other and religion.
Luke, played by Martin Delaney, is gay, a Christian and from America's Deep South. Despite his obvious strong and unquestioning faith in Jesus, he still "sins" as much as he can, though he prays immediately afterwards.
Adam, played by Charlie, could not be more different. He is an atheist, from New York and gets more and more frustrated with Luke's praying. You almost get the impression that with Jesus in the frame there are three of them in this relationship.
The play itself is set for the most part in a hospital in Manhattan and the action is cleverly played out in both real time and flashbacks.
It is here that Luke lies fighting for his life after a car accident. As his parents, friends and Adam gather round his bedside and try and come to terms with what's happened, the situation becomes tense as long-held secrets begin to tumble out and hearts are broken.
It is a beautifully crafted story, often hilariously funny, at times very poignant, and with themes of love, faith, truth and friendship at its core.
The cast is excellent in particular Nancy Crane as Luke's manic chatterbox mother Arlene who has superb comic timing and Mitchell Mullen's Luke's father Butch. Here is a man who has spent his life believing that gays and blacks have no place in America and yet now has to come to terms with his son's sexuality.
But it is Charlie Condou as Adam who really shines and the scenes with him and Martin Delaney are some of the best.

Next Fall is on at the Southwark Playhouse, Newington Causeway until October 25. Tickets cost £18. Visit www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk or call the box office on 020 7407 0234.

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