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“The Sum of Us” by David Stevens Is Truly as Sweet a Play as You Could Possibly Ask For

SumofUsPOSTER2-HonestPintandNRACT2014

The story line of the Honest Pint Theatre Company’s production of The Sum of Us by David Stevens is about a widowed, straight Australian father and his sports-minded gay son. But there is no tension between them about that. This wise and kind father, since realizing the nature of his son’s nature, has only wanted the boy to grow up to be who he wanted and needed to be. He encourages relationships with “nice young men.”

Oh, there are the usual family aggravations, father lets the shower head drip, the son comes to dinner late. In fact, they form a nice, normal, caring human family unit.

There is an interesting twist in how this play is written: each of the two speaks to the audience in fairly long self-revealing asides. In an early one of these, Dad informs us that what we have discerned about his son from a few moments conversation is indeed true — he is “… cheerful!” The play has many happy and laugh-provoking moments; and even when it gets a bit grim, it is still filled with heart.

In what may be the best performance we have seen by him, John Honeycutt is stunningly warm, self-contained, and lovable as Dad, a father that we should all be very proud to have. Ryan Brock as his son, Jeff, also delivers a powerful and understated realization of his character. One of the Triangle’s best actors, Brock finds the means to portray Jeff’s sensitivity for his father, his dead mother, his grandmother’s Boston marriage, even the young man who jilts him.

Greg, the young man who interests Jeff, and finds himself unable to handle his Dad’s equanimity, is played by Sean A. Brosnahan, who gives a totally believable rendition of his character’s discomfort. Joyce, a woman Dad finds through a dating agency, is acted by Renee Church Wimberley in a lively and humorous manner.

Production designer Thomas Mauney placed the show in a comfortable and adaptable living/dining room that easily gives way to less complicated scenes that are managed in character by the actors with an easy flow. Kudos to Leanne Norton Heintz, who is the prop mistress, but also fills the unusual position of “Dialect Ear.” The Australian accents were “spot on.”

Director David Henderson, founder of Honest Pint Theatre Company, says he “is thrilled that Honest Pint is back for a second round,” and we applaud this appearance also. Honest Pint did a powerful and touching job on A Steady Rain last September, and we hope to see more of their work. Please note, this play lasts nearly two hours but has no intermission. Prospective audiences should note this weekend will be the last chance to see this fine show.

Honest Pint Theatre Company presents THE SUM OF US at 8 p.m. June 27 and 28 and 3 p.m. June 29 at North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, 7713-51 Lead Mine Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27615, in the Greystone Village Shopping Center.

TICKETS: $16.52 (including fees).

BOX OFFICE: 919-866-0228 or http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/715665.

SHOW: http://www.honestpinttheatre.org/#!whats-on-tap/cb3i, https://www.facebook.com/events/243050379222452/, and http://nract.org/upcoming-productions/the-sum-of-us.

PRESENTER: http://www.honestpinttheatre.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/honestpinttheatre.

VENUE: http://www.nract.org/, https://www.facebook.com/NRACT, and https://twitter.com/NRACT.

MAP/DIRECTIONS: https://www.google.com/maps/.

OTHER LINKS:

The Sum of Us (1990 Off-Broadway play): http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/8958/sum-of-us-the (Samuel French Inc.) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sum_of_Us (Wikipedia).

The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

David Stevens (Australian playwright): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Stevens_%28screenwriter%29 (Wikipedia).

David Henderson (Raleigh, NC director): https://www.facebook.com/theatrescot (Facebook page) and https://twitter.com/theatrescot (Twitter page).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.

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