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.
is 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
best 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.
of 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
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 Elastoplast'.
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
the pool and having someone squirt him with a water pistol for the
is 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
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