Theater Review: The Outsiders

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NCT's enjoyable production of The Outsiders runs through Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.

NCT’s production of The Outsiders is an enjoyable production rife with social commentary.

The Outsiders (Sept. 18 – Oct. 5; Ages 12 and older)
Nashville Children’s Theatre
25 Middleton St., Nashville
252-4675 • nashvillect.org
Show times: Sat 2 and 7 p.m. (no evening show on Oct. 4), Sun 2 p.m.
Tickets: $20 adults, $14 children

Nashville Children’s Theatre (NCT) kicks off its 2014 – 2015 season with a show for the middle school and older crowd. Based on S.E. Hinton’s literary classic of the same name and set in the 1960s, The Outsiders is the coming-of-age story of two groups of teens — the Greasers and the Socs (short for Socials) — divided by their socioeconomic status.

The gang rivalry is somewhat reminiscent of the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story, but at the heart of Hinton’s novel and its translation to the stage is the prevalence of how kids think, feel and live. It’s a story kids can relate to despite the time difference.

Directed by Jeff Church, the drama is seen through the eyes of Ponyboy (deftly played by NCT newcomer Kevin Bohleber), a young Greaser who is caught up in the territorial battles between the gangs while learning what family really is. The story explores relationships and friendships that form across the lines, particularly when Ponyboy realizes that Cherry (Amanda Card) is unlike any of the Socs he’s encountered before.

A particularly moving scene is Johnny’s (Bralyn Stokes) final one with Ponyboy and Dallas (Daniel Collins). It’s perhaps the most heartfelt, moving moment on stage during the production.

Eric Pasto-Crosby’s fight direction is solid as is his portrayal of Ponyboy’s older brother, Darry. Scott Boyd’s set design creates the perfect setting for this production with scenery complete with moving panels and rotating ladders that give the cast various ways to move about the stage. The main set piece also doubles as the drive-in movie screen with period film images projected upon it. Scott Leathers’ lighting greatly complements the set’s mood on stage. Likewise, electric guitarist Wayne Avers’ underscoring during the show adds much to the melancholy current of the story.

With a running time of 75 minutes, NCT’s The Outsiders is an enjoyable production that is sure to spark a conversation afterward with your kids.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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