Action To The Word's all-male, ultra-homoerotic adaptation of the classic novel themed around violence, rebellion & "nature versus nurture" returned to London briefly
before going international, still as stunning & visceral experience as it was five
years ago, even with quite a few cast changes. Jonno Davies as Alex
DeLarge gives an engaging, sexually charged performance & injects more humour into the role than in previous incarnations. The hugely talented & versatile ensemble all add memorable performances in support.
Jonno Davies, Eddie Usher, Matt Martin, James Meryk, Will Stokes & others.
Set in the not-too-distant future, the play centres on the friendship between shy, awkward Derek (Alex Lawther), confident, cocky Vince (Alexander Arnold) & the enigmatic Lydia, set against the backdrop of a mysterious plague that is sweeping the country & giving rise to extremist vigilante groups. Lots of metaphors & parallels with real topical issues are at work, not always successfully - the whole thing seems slightly under-developed. The performances are spot-on though, Lawther & Arnold fast developing their reputations for being amongst the best of the current crop of "new" British actors.
Alex Lawther, Alexander Arnold, Hannah Britland & others.
Strindberg's classic take on love, relationships & power is given a homosexual spin in this semi-updated adaptation. The menage-a-trois features, a young, brilliant but emotionally unstable artist, his older novelist husband & the husband's vengefull ex. The cast do a great job at keeping the emotion out of the overwrought gutters of Soap Opera, ensuring these deeply flawed characters never become tiresome. Tom Rhys Harries fluffed his lines a few times but deserves credit for clearly not being in the best of health & was otherwise impressive.
Drama inter-weaving the stories of several gay couples from various walks of life, based on "La Ronde". Some elements work extremely well, making plenty of witty & topical observations about modern gay life, whereas others seem cliched & dated. Similarly, the performances are uneven, making for an overall disjointed experience that never really settles on the right tone.
Chris Wills, Harper James, Haydn Whiteside, Euan Brockie, others.
Surreal comedy-musical-puppetshow. Delightfully witty, exceptionally
well written & performed piece of unashamedly silly entertainment centred around the space-travelling adventures of 2 bears, framed as a kind of Jackanory-style fairytale.
All 4 cast members are outstanding but Jack Gleeson definitely has the most
commanding stage presence (those eyes!). Easily the most (successfully) inventive piece of theatre I've ever seen.
Jack Gleeson, Aaron Heffernan, Cameron McCauley and Eoghan Quinn.
Comedy-drama about the trials & tribulations of a semi-professional non-league football team. The comedy element comes in the form of Daniel Mays' dodgy, wheeler-dealer manager, which nicely offsets the drama surrounding Calvin Demba's seemingly innocent "wonderkid" destined for bigger things. Topical, genuinely funny & at times moving, with perfectly pitched performances.
Dark comedy/drama about an eccentric, Dr Who-loving teenager, forced to live with his estranged, alcoholic father after his mother's death. The comedy is jet black but definitely genuinely funny, the drama powerful & never melodramatic. The interplay between David Moorst as the son & Jason Hughes as the father is outstanding. Some clever staging devices help to keep the audience fully engaged with the piece.
David Moorst, Jason Hughes, Siwan Morris & Morfydd Clark.
Comedy, drama, family, sex, relationships, alcoholism, Popular Culture, violence.
Camp comedy about a raucous houseparty featuring a range of gay stereotypes - The Twink, The Bear, The Camp Queen, The Muscle Mary, The Exhibitionist & The Married Couple. Quite unpretentious in its intentions (camp comedy & naked guys), the writing & performances are both extremely uneven. Occasional sharp, genuinely funny lines are outweighed by many more that fall flat & the frequent breaking of the Fourth Wall is cringeworthy.
Powerful adaptation of an unpublished screenplay by Tennessee Williams. A promising young boxer's career is cut short by a devastating injury and from there his life spirals down through prostitution to Death Row. Excellent performances, effective subtle staging and tone that never veers away from totally engaging.
Tom Varey, Joe Jameson & others.
Drama, historical, sexuality, masculinity, sport, youth, USA.
Enda Walsh's "mischievous" adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl tale, revolving around the exploits of an eccentric (and at times outright nasty) husband & wife, as well those, both human & simian, who must suffer their "tricks". Outstanding performances & staging can't cover up the mess of tone that leaves you wondering exactly who the target audience is supposed to be.