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Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs Is a Laugh-a-Minute Funny Spoof of Political Correctness


Lungs by Duncan Macmillan, which opened on Friday, Sept. 9th, is another outstanding production of the relatively new Sonorous Road Theatre, located near the roundabout on Oberlin Road. Sonorous Road Productions was founded by Michelle Murray Wells, just down the street from the eponymous Roundabout Art Collective a couple of years ago.

Lungs is a very clever play, its title giving rise to one of its foremost themes, the creeping pollution of our planet by ourselves. Two-handers — plays that use only two actors — are not easy to carry off but Michelle Wells and her stage partner, Jonathan King, carry it off beautifully. The work makes it a “must-see” show for theater lovers who expect to be deeply affected.

The show is played out entirely on a blank stage. Two silvery lattice pieces against the upstage wall give the impression of a proscenium, and give the stage some theatricality. Tony Lea is the set designer and also directs the piece. Lighting designer Liz Grimes Droessler’s illumination effectively indicates the nearly 40 scenes.

The apparent topic of this 105-minute “conversation” is whether or not the unmarried couple should produce a child. But the subtext of individual carbon-footprint, a profound worry of these Gen-Xers, keeps rising through. These are good people, who recycle and watch the news, and care for the future of their planet.

This show is a spoof on political correctness. No, it is commentary on the social issues of the new generations and how they came into being. No, it is an insight into how we are dealing with climate change. No, it’s about when to have a baby. Hmm. It’s all four and also a-laugh-a-minute funny.

Michelle Wells and Jonathan King have tremendous chemistry as actors, and the love they portray is tangible and real. They try desperately to sort out their feelings; and much of that consists of over-talk, which goes on for many seconds and must be very hard to accomplish. Their timing is exquisite, and the blocking that director Tony Lea has given them is executed precisely and purposively. Identified only as M and W, the couples represent entities larger than themselves, making them a kind of Everyman and Everywoman of their generation.

Theater lovers who have not yet tried the fare at Sonorous Road Theatre are missing some excellent theater. The company also provides training in motion picture production, acting and other theatrical arts.

SECOND OPINION: Sept. 7th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods:

Sonorous Road Theatre presents LUNGS at 8 p.m. Sept. 10, 3 p.m. Sept. 11, 8 p.m. Sept. 15-17, 3 p.m. Sept. 18, 8 p.m. Sept. 22-24, and 3 p.m. Sept. 25 at 209 Oberlin Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27605.

TICKETS: $18 ($15 students, seniors, and active-duty military personnel).

BOX OFFICE: 919-803-3798 or

SHOW: and

2016-17 SEASON:




Lungs (2014 play): (PainesPlough).

Duncan Macmillan (playwright): (official website), (PainesPlough).


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: 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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