Dearly Departed takes comedy to the next level

Laughing, music, and a good time is what was to be expected when the North Carolina A&T Theatre Department presented their play, “Dearly Departed.”

It is safe to say that the actors, directors, and producers did not disappoint. “Dearly Departed,” by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, is the hilarious stage version of the popular film “Kingdom Come.”

Bold characters, contemporary music, and hilarious one-liners brought this script to life.

The plot surrounds the death of Bud Turpin, husband of Raynelle Turpin played by Shelby Womack.

The entire Turpin family must now come together to plan a funeral and heal.

In spite of the grief, drama is not too far behind for some members of the family. Subjects such as family feuds and martial woes make the play relatable to the masses.

The comedy helped keep these tough issues light.

Church influences and contemporary music gave this comedy a modern twist setting it apart from any chitlin circuit play.

The audience is able to quickly identify with characters from the play.

Malcom Evans who plays Royce described his character as an under employed slacker with unexpected depth.

Each character finds meaning in the recent death and walks away changed.

Lonell Butler’s character shines as the outspoken, bold and boisterous Aunt Margaret.

A&T’s theatre department provides a huge twist with two unexpected characters in drag.

When the cast was asked what made “Dearly Departed” different from any production they had done before, the answers varied.

“This is the first time that all class levels have been in a production together,” Shelby pointed out.

Lonell also pointed out that the material is relatable to everyone and the production is, “full of flavor.”

Music from the Black Eye Peas and Lauryn Hill keeps the production current.

The passion of the cast is evident in this play and shows in the work produced.

A lot of people only see the end production of a play, but forget the dedication and drive it takes to make a show great.

“Theatre is who I am. It is my passion,” Shelby explained.

Lonell originally wanted to be a lawyer but in the end he had to follow his heart.

Key advice from both Butler and Womack was to stay true to your roots.

“If I wanted money I would have been a lawyer, but I love the stage,” Lonell points out.

Overall, “Dearly Departed” is a must see.

Not only is the comedy great but also the timing is perfection. . Comedy is nothing without good timing.

The audience leaves with a good laugh, but they also receive a message as well.

Regardless of the color of the cast, the message of family is always universal. “Dearly Departed” is showing at the Paul Robeson Theatre.

  • Kourtney Pope, Register Reporter