Geoffrey Nauffts’ Next Fall, currently onstage at Ensemble Theatre, refers to a moment that’s just beyond reach — and never to be attained. It’s when Luke (Ryan Wesley Gilreath), a young gay man, promises to come out to his conservative family, perhaps allowing for greater peace and balance in his relationship with Adam (Michael G. Bath), his older partner, an agnostic hypochondriac who shares neither Luke’s devout Christianity nor his easy ability to justify inherent contradictions between his faith and behavior.
The play, a 2010 Tony Award nominee, is a thoughtful drama with an overlay of humor. A tragic accident in the play’s first moment throws Luke and Adam’s relationship into turmoil. We meet others in awkward conversation in a cheerless hospital waiting room — a sympathetic friend Holly (Annie Fitzpatrick), an aloof, uptight friend Brandon (Charlie Clark), Luke’s anxiously chatty mother Arlene (Regina Pugh) and her ex-husband Butch (Bruce Cromer), whose homophobic prejudices are quickly evident.
Next Fall continues at Ensemble Theatre through Feb. 19. Go here to read Rick Pender's full review.