News > Review: Folly Beach at PURE Theatre

PURE Theatre continues to present some of the best theatre available in town. Hands down. Bar none. Directed by PURE co-founder Sharon Graci (Anna Purna, PURE), Folly Beach is world premier production of a play that took writer, actor, comedian David Lee Nelson five years to complete. It was worth the wait.

The happy groom Jeremy (Addison Dent) calls on his Best Man

Folly Beach is a riot from start to finish, spanning five days of a wedding weekend that no one was prepared for. As anyone with a small or wide circle of friends can confirm, friendship comes with three inevitable characteristics: the weddings years, the baby years, and the second wedding years. If friendships are to be maintained, one is required to delicately navigate both actions and words as unions forge together, break apart, and then introduce new players. These are tricky waters to steer, my friends. Folly Beach navigates the rocky course of friendship and marriage beautifully, avoiding some treacherous rocks and gloriously smashing headlong into others.

The second wedding of Jeremy (Addison Dent, Ginger, Speech & Debate, PURE) brings the gang back to Charleston for the weekend at Folly Beach. The best man has literally just received a postcard from City Hall, notifying him that his divorce is finalized; Michael Smallwood (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, PURE) as the begrudging best man Daniel has some of his best moments rehearsing his ‘Best Man’ speech, where the most harsh criticisms of marriage are voiced. As someone who both believes in love and has also watched some of the best humans in the world be trampled on by love, Daniel’s questioning seem quite reasonable. Smallwood gives a tremendous performance in Folly Beach; he is the substance and glue of the play.

l to r: Cameron Tubbs as Brent, Michael Smallwood as Daniel, Evan Parry as Greg

Poor, poor Greg. He’s the scapegoat, the butt of the joke, the cuckold who has no clue that his wife is committing some light adultery right under his nose, with the man who insisted he join the gang for this eventful weekend. He’s mocked by the younger crowd and excluded from their shenanigans, but happily oblivious. Actor Evan Parry (everything. Next Fall, PURE) stars as Greg. Parry is a long-time professor of CofC’s Theatre and Dance dept, and I most often associate him with serious roles and Shakespearean tragedy, so his laughable portrayal of the ‘old dude trying to keep up with the social-media savvy kiddies’ is a lighthearted, diverging path.

Tom and the wedding planner do battle

Every friend group needs a loveable jackass. Tom (Noah Smith) is the chubby king of one-liners, the frat-tastic d-bag you hate to love. (A rainy day confines everyone to the house) “Truth or Dare is the dumbest game ever. It should just be called ‘Get Naked'” “Jeremy’s wedding means I get to go to a strip club guilt-free!” He pulls a retribution stunt on the wedding planner that is straight from the playbook of a young Adam Sandler, a la Billy Madison. Brent (Cameron Tubbs) is the buddhist who finds his center through meditation and fasting…the bachelor party is possibly his undoing, with no food on the stomach to absorb all that alcohol. However uncontrollable vomiting and meditation help him bounce back to be the best groomsman-dwarf ever (Sleepy, Dopey, Grouchy, etc. that’s right, it is a FAIRY TALE wedding…aka everyone else’s worst nightmare).

Post-bachelor party misery

Nelson’s Folly Beach a well-written play, with laughs for days and many strengths. There are a couple of relationships that could be more developed–the marriage between Alice (Becca Anderson, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Woolfe St Playhouse) and Greg never quite feels real, nor do the consequences of straying from it. The lust between Alice and Andy (Michael David Wilson, Dracula, Charleston Stage) doesn’t quite hit the mark either, but there is enough evidence to communicate the desire. The real strength of Folly Beach lies in role of Daniel, the love between the friends and their conflicted feelings of the group when it comes to Daniel’s newly ex-wife Kate (Keanue Thompson) who totally shows up for the wedding! Invited by the groom! Wha?!

You have six more chances to see Folly Beach before the lights go down one last time. And being that this is a PURE production, you don’t even need to take my word that you should see this. Just go.

Folly Beach: Tickets $25; Student rush $15 (with valid ID; available 15 min prior to curtain)
Friday 7/25, 7:30 pm. Saturday 7/26, 3 pm and 7:30 pm. Thursday 7/31, 7;30 pm. Friday 8/1, 7:30 pm. Saturday 8/2, 7:30 pm.
PURE Theatre, 477 King Street, Charleston SC 29403., 843.723.4444

All friends yell at their hungover friends sometimes.

words: Stacy Huggins
images: David Mandel

Posted on July 25, 2014 by admin.

Categories: Performing Arts, Review

Tags: Addison Dent, Becca Anderson, Cameron Tubbs, Charleston Theatre, David Lee Nelson, Evan Parry, Folly Beach, Michael David Wilson, Michael Smallwood, Noah Smith, Pure Theatre, Sharon Graci, Theatre, Theatre Premier, World Premier

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