Bush Theatre December 2018
This one-hour monologue by Tom Wells, with music by Matthew Robins, is a charming little fable that lies somewhere in the overlap of theatre-for-schools and theatre for grown-ups.
likely to delight both audiences equally, though perhaps in different
ways, the adults enjoying a warmly affectionate imagining of how nice
young people can be while the kids see a lot that is real and maybe even
get an uplifting message from it.
premise is that a fifteen-year-old boy – convincingly and attractively
played by Andrew Finnigan – is giving an extra-credit presentation in the
school auditorium. His project consists of explaining how another project
friend, who is a girl, wanted to stage a synchronised swimming display in
the local baths, not adequately considering that he was the only other one
in her cast and he couldn't swim. How he failed her and how he tried to
make it up to her is the subject of his narrative, which he punctuates
with several elementary but attractive self-written songs.
the charm of the piece lies in the lad's innocent earnestness and the
skill with which the creators capture the precise mix of impressive talent
and awkward inexperience in the boy's writing and performance.
sings 'I am at that weird age/Half of me is all grown up/But I've still
got action figures on a shelf' we spot and smile at the mix of clever
insight and the difficulty of squeezing too many words into the melody.
script is dotted with little insights, observations and turns of phrase
that mark this boy as worthy of our attention.
a Gay Pride parade – it is mentioned and accepted as hardly worth
mentioning that he, the girl and another boy who enters the story are all
gay – he spots 'a massive paper-mache Gok Wan' and 'an eight foot statue
of Sir Ian McKellen dressed as Gandalf on a stick' and he pauses in the
process of sinking to the bottom of the pool to notice 'an old forgotten
involves the audience by passing out rainbow flags for the parade scene,
asking us to don blue plastic raincoats in order to collectively play the
role of the pool and having someone squirt him with a water pistol for the
all thoroughly engaging and entertaining, and actor Andrew Finnigan and
director Jane Fallowfield keep the very fragile bubble – there are actual
bubbles at one point – afloat through a total respect for the character
that is never blind to his comic side.
lad's presentation ends with the moral of his story, expressed in a song
about how you have to 'dive, dive, dive right in', and that may be the
message young audiences take from it.
The one we get is that, judging from this boy and his friends, the kids are all right.
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Review - Drip - Bush Theatre 2018