BWW Reviews: THE INNOCENTS is a Strong Debut for Common Wealth Endeavors


The theater scene in the Triangle is thriving, and a brand new theater company is jumping into the mix. There are so many wonderful voices bringing live theater to the area, and this one fits right in. Common Wealth Endeavors opened its debut season (which has been coined a "beta test" of sorts) with the US premiere of young Canadian playwright Daniel Karasik's The Innocents.

The Innocents revolves around five young adults facing the "quarter-life crisis," and all handling it quite differently. It revolves largely around Stanley, a prodigious scholar who has earned himself a high-powered attorney position by the age of 25, and his related inability to handle age-appropriate social situations like dating and friendship. The five characters' lives intersect when one, Aaron, confesses to a murder he didn't commit - Stanley is his attorney. Stanley, Aaron, Aarons's ex-girlfriend Jackie, his slacker friend Jude, and a journalist named Laura all must come to terms with who they've been, who they are, and who they aspire to be. The idea of a quarterlife crisis has become relatively mainstream of late, and it's clear by the reactions of the twenty-somethings in the audience that it's representation in The Innocents is entirely relatable. While some characters are figuring out what their goals are in life in an endless quest for certainty, others are abandoning their goals for a less-predictable life. Some even, quite literally, trade places in the ultimate representation of wanting what someone else has.

The young cast fits these roles well (right down to the endearing mannerisms of Canadian speech), with notable bravos for Matthew Hager's Stanley and Alice Rose Turner's Jackie. These two, representing differing ends of the spectrum of having it all figured out, somehow meet in the middle and create some real chemistry on stage. Under the direction of Gregor McElvogue and Rachel Klem, the show succeeds at showing that Common Wealth Endeavors is a viable new voice in Triangle theater.

The foundation of Common Wealth Endeavors is to produce English-language pieces from the countries which make up the Commonwealth of Nations, an association of countries which (with few exceptions) have historical roots in the British Empire. In essence, bringing works to the US from other parts of the English-speaking world.

Common Wealth produced The Innocents at Durham's Common Ground Theatre. The Innocents closed on March 23 after a limited run, but Common Wealth Endeavors is looking to the future, as it plans to put on Elevator by New Zealand playwright Jess Sayer in the near future, according to McElvogue's program bio. Elevator tells of three women with a complicated past who are stuck together in an elevator. For more information about Common Wealth Endeavors, visit

Related Articles View More Raleigh Stories   Shows

From This Author Larisa Mount

Larisa has been a Broadway fan since before she can remember. When she's not teaching kindergarten, she's seeing every show possible! Her three favorite shows (read more...)

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram