★★★★ | Next Fall

Imagine meeting a younger man, falling in love and then finding out that he has a very different ideology from yours. How would you cope if you found out that he was a fundamentalist Christian who believes that homosexuality is a flaw, the Bible is a literal document and is waiting for a rapture to occur so that he can be drawn up to heaven?

Adam and Luke have managed to make their relationship work in spite of their differences. Adam is a failed writer from New York and a neurotic atheist with hypochondria issues. Luke is from Florida and is an aspiring actor with strong religious views and a tendency to pray to thank God for food and again after sex to ask for forgiveness. Luke has kept his sexuality secret from his parents, always planning to tell them next autumn but things come to a head when Luke is hit by a car and is lying in hospital in a coma and his long separated parents arrive from Florida along with a closeted male friend and his best female friend.

This multi award winning play by Geoffrey Nauffts is so much more than an issue centred play but works on varying levels: as a tender exploration of human frailty and diversity, a moving drama and also a really witty comedy with laugh out loud moments. Charlie Condou (Coronation Street) and Martin Delaney portray the couple at the centre of the play with skill but the real stars of the play are the supporting cast. Nancy Crane is exceptional as Luke’s flaky mother with drug issues and her comic timing is absolutely impeccable. She delivers killer line after killer line without batting an eyelash. Sirine Saba and Mitchell Mullen are equally brilliant in their portrayal as Adam’s New Age best friend and Luke’s bullish father, struggling to cope with his suspicions about his son’s sexuality.

The set is versatile, making use of the intimate space in play at Southwark portray hospital waiting rooms, apartments and even a street scene. The theatre is a perfect space for a play of this intensity and warm humour.

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This is a play that is really worth catching. It’s definitely worth a trip to Southwark for a rare opportunity to see a play that has the potential to make you cry with both laughter and sorrow.

Next Fall runs until the 25th of October 2014

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Buy tickets here: www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk

About the author: Chris Bridges
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He's usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.