Review: A Number, Raleigh Little Theatre

RATING: ★★★★

If a child is cloned, is their father also the father of all the clones? That's one of the questions asked by Raleigh Little Theatre's newest production. "A Number" is a psychological thriller about human cloning. Directed by Patrick Torres and written by Caryl Churchill, the play examines personhood and the ethics of cloning people. At only an hour long, it's just the right length for a show that asks such demanding questions of its audience. 

David Henderson plays Salter, while Jesse Gephart plays Bernard and other characters. Because some people might be a bit confused by Gephart portraying different characters and the complexity of the play in general, RLT has provided a plot summary on their website. (I would recommend reading after you finish watching the play, or even pausing after every scene to read the breakdown.) 

Much of the play centers around Bernard finding out that not only was he potentially the product of cloning, but that the scientists also made other clones with his DNA without his father's permission. He questions if he's the original and if that matters. 

He also begins to find out that the things he's been told about his past might not be true at all. The audience must try to figure out what the truth is along with Bernard as the play unfolds. It moves from more a philosophical conversation to a thriller as other characters get involved. Meanwhile, Salter is a man reckoning with his past mistakes catching up with him. 

The show is filled with fast-paced dialogue and both actors play off of each other well. Gephart does a great job of differentiating between his characters with accent work and physicality. While one character is bolder and more aggressive, another is mild-mannered and more refined and this shows well through his movements and tone of voice. 

The show was filmed on a simply dressed stage to be streamed online. It's well-filmed to show us different angles and allow us to feel a bit more intimate with the actors without ever losing the sense of it being a play on a stage. 

"A Number" is something a bit different than your normal play that you might see. As the characters themselves question issues to do with cloning and individuality, the audience has to reckon with them as well. However, with its short length, it never becomes overpowering or fatiguing. Raleigh Little Theatre's latest show has great performances and an intriguing premise -- and can be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your own home. 

For more information or to buy tickets, visit the Raleigh Little Theatre website. "A Number" runs until March 13. 

I was given a press ticket to this show for the purposes of review, but all opinions are my own. 

Photo Credit: Jeremy Diamond 

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