BOYS’ LIFE To 23 June.


by Howard Korder.

King’s Head Theatre 115 Upper Street N1 1QN To 23 June 2013.
Sun, Mon 7.15pm Mat 23 June 3pm.
Runs 1hr 25min No interval.

TICKETS: 020 7478 0160.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 16 June.

The boys’ own stories artfully composed and clearly played.
This 1988 play from American dramatist Howard Korder doesn’t set-out its stall all at once, or even gradually unfold. Instead, with filmic freedom it tours round the lives of three youngish men who met at college in the seventies and shows their evasions at any situation suggesting they need to take on adult responsibilities. The separate scenes are linked thematically rather than by story or character.

At first, it’s all lying around remembering what the last decade was like. The one who supposedly has adult responsibilities, Max Warrick’s Jack, still wants to philander and flirt like a college student, trying to pick-up (while denying that he is) a female jogger in the park, explaining his 5-year old son, in the adjoining playground, as some kind of ward he’s helping raise.

Phil’s spaced-out, first seen laid flat and communicating with music through earphones rather than other people, till a chance re-meeting sets him trying to re-ignite a relationship he’s failed at before. He’s a mass of speech hesitations, while Matthew Crowley’s Don spends much of the time lounging around in vest and underpants.

The action brings in several women for one passing scene. Some have their own complexities, and it’s one of these Don marries. The sense of someone taking-on a serious relationship is made visible when the underclothes are exchanged for formal dressed at his wedding, where his bride’s relegated the boys to a table by the toilet.

Sebastien Blanc’s production (first seen at Camden’s Etcetera Theatre) could push cast members to more depth, though they convey a clear sense of character. Warrick’s Jack could do with more technical focus in playing the character’s inward dissatisfaction with his life, and there’s some ponderous playing in a number of minor roles.

He is clearly the perpetual avoidance type, while Luke Trebilcock’s Max offers plenty of comic details in the world that will always be his own. Crowley manages the change from overgrown boy to responsible adult well in the final scene while Blanc doesn’t overplay the mention of HIV which helps Korder note that times, if not always underpants, are a-changin’.

Jack: Max Warrick.
Phil: Luke Trebilcock.
Don: Matthew Crowley.
Karen: Kellie Jane Walters.
Lisa: Anna Brooks-Beckman.
Maggie: Abi Unwin-Smith.
Girl: Charlotte Gascoyne.
Man: Greg Blackford.
Carla: Amanda Cooper.

Director: Sebastien Blanc.
Designer: Kellie Jane Walters.

2013-06-17 14:17:11

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