Question: In the lexicon of showbiz, what's the only phrase more pleasing to a theater company than "Engagement sold out"?
Answer: "Back by popular demand"
First, Raleigh Ensemble Players mounted the smash of the summer when they chose a decidedly unauthorized satire of the Peanuts comic strip gang, caught 10 years later in the throes of high school and hormone hell. Now comes the real rarity in regional theater: a few well-earned victory laps in a revival of those sold-out shows.
At first, Bert Royal's script seems a cross between John Hughes' teen-angst comedies and the somewhat less ... wholesome japes of a pre-Hairspray John Waters. But as characters that could have been one-joke-wonders deepen under C. Glen Matthews' direction, Dog Sees God shows unexpected emotional insights and reveals an awful lot of heart. The June dates of this production featured career-best work by Thomas Porter as the Schroeder character, Beethoven (Royal had to change all of the characters' names), Bryan Burton's anchoring turn as central character C.B., and strong support from a cast including Lori Ingle, Hillary Aarons and Eric Morales. If you want in on this "back-to-school" edition, we'd suggest moving fast; shows were already selling out as we were going to press. —Byron Woods