Saturday, April 17, 2010

Next Fall (The SOB Review)

Next Fall (The SOB Review) – Helen Hayes Theatre, New York, New York

*1/2 (out of ****)

Neil Simon has nothing on performer-turned-playwright Geoffrey Nauffts in terms of writing about a very odd couple.

In his manipulative Next Fall, two gay men are inexplicably drawn to each other. One is Adam (Patrick Breen) a rabid atheist with contempt for people of faith oozing out of every pore. The other, Luke (Patrick Heusinger) is a devout, yet simpleton Christian. Defying all logic, these two move in together, compromising their own core values, although Luke (quite conveniently) is never really able to back up his beliefs.

Unfortunately, from there the plot turns into a bad hospital melodrama over whether Adam should be able to have visitation rights in seeing his injured partner as Luke’s fundamentalist parents hold sway over the waiting room. Nothing infuriated me more than Adam’s supposed close friends advising him not to rock the boat by trying to see Luke, in part because it would mean he’d be outing his closeted partner to his family. Seriously, with friends like these, who needs enemies?!

But what was most aggravating was that rather than providing a thoughtful examination of two points of view on religion, Nauffts inadvertently becomes the pot calling the kettle black. Sure, he preaches a good game about tolerance, but then he proceeds to paint people of faith with the broadest of ugly, stereotypical strokes. Here, he dismisses them as fools, bigots or a little of both. Apparently, there are no religious moderates in Nauffts’ narrow worldview.

Therein lies the shame of Next Fall. If only Nauffts were able to display a little more tolerance of his own, then he may have the ability to reach a broader audience. That includes thoughtful people of faith like President Barack Obama who can appreciate the inherent injustice of denying visitation rights to gay couples.

Instead, ironically enough, Next Fall amounts to nothing more than preaching to a rather tiny choir.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

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At 04 May, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a sixth sense about this one and decided to give it a wide berth. Glad we did.

At 06 May, 2010, Blogger Esther said...

I think your review raises a really interesting question about how people of faith are presented. Two plays I've seen over the past couple of years, Equus and Grace, had the same flaw. They either reduced spirituality to a stereotype (Equus) or didn't do a good job of exploring the relationship between a non believing mother and her son who decides to become a minister (Grace). So even though I haven't seen Next Fall, I can understand your aggravation.

At 08 June, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You completely misunderstood the play. This review feels like it was written by a high school freshman.

At 08 June, 2010, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

So Anonymous, please tell me how I misunderstood this play. I'm all ears.

At 04 July, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean religious people are not all fools, bigots, or both?


Not having seen the play, I thought your review was thoughtful and well-written.

It seems to me that the play was written by a high-school freshman -- or someone with high-school freshman mentality.

Julie the Jarhead


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