The inside on The Outsiders

Freshman+Simon+Mullins+%28center%29+died+today.+Mullins+played+Johnny+in+%22The+Outsiders%22+at+South.
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The inside on The Outsiders

Freshman Simon Mullins (center) died today. Mullins played Johnny in

Freshman Simon Mullins (center) died today. Mullins played Johnny in "The Outsiders" at South.

Freshman Simon Mullins (center) died today. Mullins played Johnny in "The Outsiders" at South.

Freshman Simon Mullins (center) died today. Mullins played Johnny in "The Outsiders" at South.

Allison Neal, Co-editor

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Theatre South took audiences into the dog eat dog world of the greasers and socs in their production of The Outsiders, a play based on S.E Hinton’s classic novel about youth and societal differences in the ‘60s.

With beautiful set design by David Wade, The Outsiders opens on a world where boys become men too soon, and are tainted by violence. A masterfully executed fight scene opens the show where Johnny (Simon Mullins) is beat up by a gang of well off students known as socials, socs for short. Freshman Simon Mullins has the standout performance of the show.

His crushing “Stay gold Ponyboy,” and broken dialogue of a boy beaten down by an abusive home life and the rival gang tie the play together. You can’t help but watch Johnny as he jumps at a sudden noise, or asks Ponyboy (Joseph Ermey) to read him more of Gone with the Wind.

Junior Hayden Rich as Darry is another standout in the amazingly collaborative cast. The character of a brother who must take on the role of parent and provider whilst remaining a loving brother is a complex and challenging one, and Rich deals with these complexities well. The relationship between Ponyboy, Sodapop (Bryce Carson) and Darry is organic and heartfelt.

In such a male dominated play, freshman Haley Paulin as Cherry has her moments to shine (and shine she does.) Although the choice of play missing any substantial female roles and the lack of females in traditionally male roles is somewhat of a let down, the roles are casted well.

The cast integrated a number of modern references, namely cell phones and Star Wars (which came out in 1977) at a ‘60s drive in, which were a bit perplexing and anachronistic in the rest of the ‘60s setting and costuming.

There were a few sound hiccups, as with most productions, but they didn’t inhibit the overall experience (or my frequent tears.)

The cast understood the message of the work and conveyed it powerfully. Youth is fleeting, innocence should be cherished and we are not so different despite our differing backgrounds. The Outsiders will remain a relatable, timeless and truly gold play.

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