Jonesy by Tom Wells A Love Song for the People of London by Ella Hickson My Thoughts on Leaving You by Nick Payne.
Soho Theatre (Soho Downstairs) 21 Dean Street W1D 3NE To 7 December 2014.
Runs: 1hr No interval.
TICKETS : 020 7478 0100.
Review: Carole Woddis 11 November.
Seriously punching above its weight.
Billed as "a love song for the people of London", Symphony packs more in an hour than you get in most full length musicals.
Perhaps the axiom of leaving them wanting more really does have credence.
In the small but packed basement of the Soho Theatre, it certainly felt as if the nabokov performers, not to mention the audience, were just getting into their stride when it stopped.
A trio of stories set to music by three of today’s most talented young playwrights – Ella Hickson, Nick Payne and Tom Wells – starts off with Wells’ Jonesy, performed by the suitably named Iddon Jones as a whiney Welsh teenager who just wants to pass his GCSE PE exam.
All pouts and sad self-pity, Jones, condemned to try his hand at rugby, then football, then – oh humiliation, netball! – performs with the chutzpah of a prima donna. Wells’ strange creation turns out to be a wicked send-up of macho culture. Slowly, director Joe Murphy’s use of subtle irony with the musical backing from the other three – on guitar, drums and keyboard – insinuates its way into cleverly counterpointing Wells’ words.
A bravura opener, it’s as nothing to the acting and musical skill employed by every member of the group, phenomenally talented whether playing instruments or acting.
Hickson’s rhyming Love Song for the People of London is funny, poetic and poignant in the meeting of two souls, Alex and Rose, on a London bus. Liam Gerrard makes Alex another sad loner who bakes cakes when he’s angry and pies when in love. Unfortunately Alex’s yearnings for Rose go awry, his social clumsiness becoming a stranger’s good fortunes. You’d never think East London rooftops could be the inspiration for a love song. But they are here.
It’s the way they tell ‘em that counts. Best of all is Payne’s My Thoughts on Leaving You catapaulting Jack Brown together with Katie Elin-Salt as another quirkily mismatched young couple. Just watch them duet on one guitar, he plucking the strings, she holding the base. It’s the sexiest thing in town, part funky music gig, part ode to misfits and loneliness. Terrific.
Cast: Jack Brown, Liam Gerrard, Iddon Jones, Katie Elin-Salt.
Director: Joe Murphy.
Music: Ed Gaughan.
Lighting:: Ric Mountjoy.
Presented by Nabokov and Soho Theatre.
First commissioned by Lyric Hammersmith, Greenwich & Docklands International Festival, Watford Palace Theatre and Latitude.
First performanc at Soho Theatre London 8 November 2014.