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This Doesn’t End Well by Brook North Is a First-Rate Collection of Short Plays

Please forgive the all-lower-case title and go see this doesn’t end well, a collection of short plays by Brook North, playing Jan. 5, 10-13, and 17-20 at the Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio in Raleigh, NC. The current South Stream Productions presentation is a solid evening of good writing and good acting and, most of all, a pleasant theater experience.

The show is an anthology of seven … well, seven-and-a-half plays written and directed by Brook Brook North. They comprise a satisfying mix of humor and thought-provoking drama, often within the same play. The aforementioned half-play was a fresh introduction to the show and the author. It was an amusing spin on one thing that an author should never do. Of course, it cleverly disproved the rule.

I was particularly impressed by the cast of only seven who had the difficult task of acting and interacting in 28 different roles, with each troupe member taking on at least three of the roles. This troupe includes John Honeycutt, who co-founded South Stream Productions with North.

The first piece of the night was Misplaced, which is a comedic story about a couple of archaeologists looking for a lost temple. Natalie Turgeon stood out as a student researcher who has some difficult choices to make regarding her future.

Next up was Information, in which Katie Barrett is stellar as a teen working at a mall information booth who seemed to have a very interesting knowledge base.

Inside Job is somewhat of a morality play, with a somewhat expected outcome, but a very unexpected pathway and even more unexpected casting. Julie Oliver is the standout performer here.

The first half concluded with Lunch Break, an absolutely hilarious depiction of a business office and I guess what could be called, “The usual cast of characters.” This one uses the largest number of actors. I particularly liked Lou Campbell as the stereotypical boss.

A 15-minute intermission was followed by Clover, perhaps my personal favorite. It was a delightful mix of comedy, science fiction, and absurdity. My favorite aspect was the clever staging. Ben Apple was great as a slightly less-than-evolved teenager with a soft spot for animals.

Railbirds is another moralistic piece with wonderful work by John Honeycutt and David Thomas as racetrack regulars. I’m not sure I loved some of the characters’ choices of behavior, but it was thought-provoking, nevertheless.

The show closed with The Stream, my least favorite of the plays. It is quite interesting and very well delivered, but lacks the punch of the other pieces. This does not diminish the fact that Brook North writes fresh and snappy dialog — a key to great playwrighting. I’d certainly go to see his work in the future.

Unfortunately, I am always concerned about the future of the theater. This is a local show in a nice venue with free parking. The tickets cost about the same as a dinner at Chili’s. The house was only 70 percent full. I implore you to encourage your family and friends to try this type of show. I guarantee that you will be impressed by the writing, the acting, and the staging. Please use these opportunities to bring your kids to experience theater live … in a venue in which no seat is more than 15 feet from the stage.

As for bringing your children, there are some instances of language and adult themes included in this production. Although I would think that anyone who has attended a public middle school should have already been exposed to this level of material, I’d probably err on the side of caution and place the minimum age at 14-15.

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. 6th Triangle Review review by Martha Keravuori and Chuck Galle, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2019/01/brook-norths-hilarious-this-doesnt-end-well-is-a-fun-way-to-start-the-new-year/.)

South Stream Productions presents THIS DOESN’T END WELL at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 5, 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, except $10 per ticket on Industry Night on Jan 5th (click here for details).

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).

REVIEWER

Robert O’Connell is new to the Triangle, but not to the stage. As a playwright, he has had dozens of productions and awards throughout the world. He has an MS degree in Management Systems Analysis. A lifelong educator, O’Connell has also published three novels at http://www.flashmobthenovel.com/ and two humor anthologies from his blog, https://thesmartestguyiknow.wordpress.com/. He and his wife have settled in Cary, NC. Click here to read his reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.

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