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BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's A NUMBER

My First Review in a Year!

BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's A NUMBER

This happens to be my first review for BroadwayWorld in over a year. The last one I did was for North Carolina Theatre's production of Kinky Boots back in February of 2020, which took place one month before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Thanks to the streaming option from Raleigh Little Theatre, I am now back in business.

In this original stage play by Caryl Churchill, A Number is set in the near future and is structured around the conflict between a father and his sons, although two of them are clones of the first one. This work was originally written back when there was a public debate over the ethics of cloning. At the time, the cloning of Dolly the sheep, the creation of human embryos at Advanced Cell Technology, and the cloning of a kitten gave rise to controversy concerning possible human cloning. The original production debuted at The Royal Court Theatre in London on September 23rd, 2002 with Michael Gambon and Daniel Craig in the starring roles.

As for Raleigh Little Theatre's production, director Patrick Torres successfully keeps both actors in the cast socially distanced from each other throughout. Which makes A Number the perfect play to stage at a time like this during a pandemic. Although the material itself does provide some very thought provoking themes that are sure to challenge audiences. Playwright Caryl Churchill has also written some great back and forth banter between characters, making it feel as if you're watching a boxing match with no physical communication, but with words.

As Salter, David Henderson's performance allows him to express both care and empathy for the character. Jesse Gephart gets to display quite a wide range of emotions as Salter's sons, Bernard 1, Bernard 2, and Michael Black. Although in my opinion, they both play off of each other very well. They even managed to find ways of using different parts of Sonya Drum's uniquely designed set. Not to mention that Jeremy Diamond's lighting I think reflects the mood of each and every single scene very affectively.

According to RLT's website, they describe A Number as "this beguiling psychological thriller that blends topical scientific speculation with a stunning portrait of the relationship between fathers and their sons." If you ask me, that could not be more true and represented with their production. The play itself may not be for casual viewing, but it's still a very significant work of intellectual depth that I think is worth watching. Raleigh Little Theatre's production is currently presenting this production virtually with a pre-recorded performance that is available to stream via Broadway on Demand through March 13th. So for audiences who are longing to return to the theater, you can now do so without having to worry about leaving home and potentially catching COVID from other people. And did I mention that A Number is only one hour long without a single intermission?

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From This Author - Jeffrey Kare