Theatre ReviewsTom Williams


By Peter Sinn Nachtrieb

boom at Next Theatre
boom at Next Theatre

Directed by Jason Southerland

At Next Theatre

End of the world dark comedy wears out its welcome

“It’s the end of the world. Do you have a date?”

Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s boom could have been a more pleasant experience if Nachtrieb had done several things differently. One, cut about 20 minutes with from his script; two, mute some of the speeches from Barbara (Shannon Hoag); three, figure out how to end his play. boom is dark comedy about the end of the world. It is an off-beat show filled with sharp dialogue as it blends big themes (the end of the world and biological mutations, etc.) with dating rituals and “intensely significant coupling.”


Jules (John Stokvis ) is a nerdy, whacked-out graduate student who has built a subterranean university research lab because he has calculated that the end of the world is eminent. He takes it upon himself to preserve the human race through an ad for sex on Craigslist. When Jo (Kelly O’Sullivan), herself a quirky sort, arrives at the shelter she attacks him wanting sex. When his response is timid, she discovers he like men and she becomes combative thwarting his plan to repopulate the world.  The two battle over everything.


boom has its funny moments and it is based on a unique premise and it could work as a short 45 minute work. But Nachtrieb has much to say and he got trapped into his plot never finding a satisfactory way to end it. He has Barbara, a futuristic museum attendant, maneuver the exhibit set affecting the behavior of the couple. When Barbara stops the show several times to over explain the action and to talk about her job, etc., her asides become tedious and distracting to the play’s flow.  Eventually, we realize that the couple could be the founders of the next human race or are they? But my the time the 80 minute play ends we are numbed to it all.  A shorter tighter more focused story without all the exposition would serve this work well. As it now plays, it weaves thin becoming tedious.

Somewhat   Recommended

Tom Williams

At Next Theatre, in the Noyes cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL, call 847-476-1875,, tickets $25 – $40, Wednesdays at 1 pm, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 80 minutes without an intermission.

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