by Henry Darke
The Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED to 24 February 2018.
Tues-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat & Sun 3pm/
Runs 90 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 847 1652.
Review: William Russell 1 February.
Another country where there be surfers and sharks
Henry Darke’s first full length play getting its premiere at the Finborough is a very funny black comedy about the housing crisis in Cornwall, a land where second homes proliferate, and where the fishing industry may be in decline but surfers are thriving. Huck, a 30 something former fisherman who has been in prison, is squatting in an unused holiday home of which his mother is caretaker. He has plans to change the world, save the planet and create news with the help of an incomer newspaperman with no principles. Huck’s best friend Daz is a surfer and Daz’s girlfriend Jeanie is carrying Huck’s child, something she has not told Daz. The language sparkles, although the Cornish accents and the speed of delivery by the cast – especially Huck – mean that some of the verbal warfare is hard to follow. However Oliver Bennet, all raw nerves and twitches, is a splendid anarchic Huck, and just when one thinks his performance cannot be matched the focus shifts to surfer Daz played by Bradley Taylor. The scenes in which he psyches himself up to going into the seas to surf – allegedly there is a Great White swimming there – are equally scintillating.
They get strong backing from Joseph Chance as the incomer newsman, Esther Coles as Huck’s boozy mum Liz, and Florence Roberts as the girls in their lives. It all ends, as one would expect, rather messily – death is never far from the world of black comedy – but along the way there are some dazzling moments and a couple of breathtaking ones.
Huck: Oliver Bennet.
Liz: Esther Coles.
Jeanie/Cassandra: Florence Roberts.
Daz: Bradley Taylor.
Ivan: Joseph Chance.
Director: Chris White.
Set & Costume Design: Paul Burgess.
Lighting Designer: Arnim Friess.
Composer & Music Director: Michael Henry.
Dialect Coach: Hazel Holder.