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Brook North’s Hilarious This Doesn’t End Well Is a Lovely, Fun Way to Start the New Year

South Stream Productions’ co-founder and artistic director Brook North wrote the seven (and a half) plays that comprise this doesn’t end well, and couches the advertising for them in incredibly negative language, claiming they have “have gained national and international renown for inspiring rejection letters from many of the most prestigious 10-minute play competitions in the world.” However, these reviewers, along with a delighted opening-night audience on Friday, Jan. 4th, at Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio in Raleigh, NC, found them to be highly meritorious; and although we cannot speak for the audience, we ourselves consider them to be the best 10-minute plays that we’ve seen.

Appropriately for a collection of 10-minute plays, the stage is bare, and each play is set as it comes up. Minimalist sets are de rigueur for such shows, and these sets represent the essence of stagecraft. A single three-post section of a horserace fence for a couple of bettors needed absolutely nothing more. An office four-cubicle mouse maze needs no embellishment to identify itself.

Brook North, who wrote and directed these plays, has an O’Henry-like talent for the ironic, and also for taking a relatively non-dramatic moment into a serious, tense situation with one line or move.

Julie Oliver delivers four outstanding appearances, including the prologue, which is what North calls his “half” a play. From lady-like gangstah lady, to curious alien, to janitorial worker is a pretty wide selection of roles as it is, but starting off the show as an anxious playwright comes close to the gamut from A to Z.

Katie Barrett has an equally wide spectrum to fill, from wise information clerk in a high school, through a smart-aleck office worker, an ordinary pet-loving house-wife and the girlfriend of a physics professor. Barrett’s energy and kaleidoscopic characterizations are becoming more and more well known to area theatergoers.

John Honeycutt, one of the mainstays of area theater and the co-founder of South Stream Productions with North, brings us an ambitious archeologist, hell-bent on locating an ancient ruin that his former colleague found; the perpetually depressed office worker making everyone miserable; and a race track tout. It’s a nice spread, and Honeycutt handles all these roles with finesse.

Lou Campbell manages four tricky roles: a big-business-man who could sell snow to eskimos (he might remind you of someone), a handyman for an illegal enterprise, an office manager, and one of the cutest aliens you ever did see.

Natalie Turgeon plays the graduate assistant to the aforementioned archeologist, one of the office workers, a gerbil, and a physics professor. Turgeon has a down-to-earth style, which makes her just-right for all four parts.

David Thomas sidles up cozily, trying to get it on with the girl at the information desk at a high school, is an office worker with a dirty mind, and later plays one of the bettors at the race track. Thomas does good work in all three roles.

Ben Apple does a fine job as a young hoodlum, trying to get up in the underworld; an office worker; the owner of a gerbil who has just come across a couple of stranded aliens; and a young man at a stream.

this doesn’t end well is a lovely and hilariously fun way to start off the New Year. Stick your tongue in your cheek and go have a good time.

SECOND OPINION: Jan. 5th Raleigh, NC cvnc review by Roy C. Dicks: https://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=9213. (Note: To read Triangle Arts and Entertainment’s online version of the Jan. 5th Triangle Review review by Robert W. O’Connell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2019/01/this-doesnt-end-well-by-brook-north-is-a-first-rate-collection-of-short-plays/.)

South Stream Productions presents THIS DOESN’T END WELL at 3 p.m. Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10-12, 3 p.m. Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17-19, and 3 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio (The Royal Bakery Building), 3801 Hillsborough St., Suite 113, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.

TICKETS: $22 ($17.80 students, seniors, and active-duty military personnel), including fees.

BOX OFFICE (scroll down): https://www.sonorousroad.com/southstream/.

SHOW: https://southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/p/this-doesnt-end-well.html, https://www.facebook.com/events/1034395136741348/, and https://www.sonorousroad.com/southstream/.

PRESENTER: https://southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/ (official website) and https://www.facebook.com/SouthStreamProductions/ (Facebook page).

VENUE: https://www.sonorousroad.com/, https://www.facebook.com/sonorousroad/, and https://twitter.com/sonorousroad. DIRECTIONS/MAP: https://www.sonorousroad.com/contact/.

OTHER LINKS:

Brook North (Raleigh, NC playwright and director and co-founder and artistic director of South Stream Productions): https://southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/p/brook-north.html (South Stream Productions bio), http://www.abouttheartists.com/artists/394548-brook-north (AboutTheArtists bio), and https://www.facebook.com/brook.north.5 (Facebook page).

REVIEWERS:

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 Amazon.com. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori previously reviewed theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.

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Categorised in: A&E Theatre Reviews, Lead Story, Reviews