Theater review: Someone Else at N.C. Stage Company

Charlotte Cohn and Charlie Flyn-McIver cope with midlife in Someone Else. Photo courtesy of NC Stage

North Carolina Stage Company’s world premiere of Someone Else transports the audience into the lives of a middle-age couple. The pair in question grapple with trying to have a child while coming to grips with insecurities, frustrations and the temptations of infidelity. It is human, relatable and, at times, very funny.

Markus Potter makes a return to N.C. Stage where he premiered his 2013 production of Stalking the Boogeyman before taking the show to New York. He directs a tightly paced performance that inhabits the stage like a restless caged animal bidding its time, waiting for an escape that is likely to never come. There are no breaks between scenes, as lights shift and actors move, often changing wardrobe in front of the audience during the transitions. This keeps the audience intimately involved with the characters and story, even in moments that normally would not be shown to the audience. But this show is all about exposing inner fears and demons and debating them in often-unsettling ways.

The play’s journey is through the mind and eyes of Dave. He is going full-tilt into mid-life crisis mode, feeling all the pressures of keeping his emotions in check while dealing with the possibility that he may be unable to get his wife pregnant. All of the inspiration and fun has been drained out of Dave, and he is barely able to keep up the hectic pace . Charlie Flynn-McIver gives a soul-bearing performance as Dave, making you feel his pain and anxiety. He stumbles forward, hoping that somehow it will all work out, yet not having a clue how to do that.

Co-author Charlotte Cohn plays Susan, Dave’s wife, who is struggling with the same mid-life crisis moments as her husband. She also plays all of the fixtures in Dave’s mind and life, from a sexy escort he dreams up (an exotic version of Susan), to his co-worker, for whom he may or may not have lusty feelings. Cohn slips into and out of each role with chameleonlike skill. In fact, she seems to morph age, too, with her change of clothes and performance, which is the mark of a skilled performer at the peak of her talent.

Cohn’s real life husband, Jason Odell Williams, co-wrote the show. The writing is sharp, insightful and gives every audience member something they can relate to in their own lives.

The lighting by Burke Brown perfectly sets the mood. Upon entering the theater, the audience is greeted by an incredible set, furnished in all white. It is a feast for the eyes, designed by David Goldstein. N.C. Stage continues to raise the bar for professional theater on all levels.

WHAT: Someone Else
WHERE: N.C. Stage Company, ncstage.org
WHEN: Through Sunday, Nov. 29, Wednesdays to Saturdays, at 7:30 p.m., Sundays, at 2 p.m. $16-$36

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About Jeff Messer
playwright, actor, director and producer, Jeff Messer has been most recently known as a popular radio talk show host. He has been a part of the WNC theatre scene for over 25 years, and actively works with and supports most of the theatres throughout the region. Follow me @jeffdouglasmess

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