by by James Lantz.
Above The Stag Theatre
Arch 17 Miles Street SW8 1RZ To 22 November 2014.
Tue–Sat 7.30pm. Sun 6pm.
Runs 2 hr One interval.
Review: William Russell 24 October.
Teenage love in the Bible Belt. Excellently told tale.
The action of this engrossing play takes place on a gas station somewhere in the American Middle West. Harry, the owner, is in a rage over an old bus parked on his property. He wants it removed. The bus belongs to the local church which had permission to leave it there as a sign to its parishioners directing them to the church, and is refusing to let Harry shift the vehicle or take it away.
Harry is divorced, his teenage son, Ian, whom he rarely sees, lives with his mother, Sarah, a devoted Christian and member of the church. Ian is gay and in love with Jordan, a fellow student at the local high school. Both parents know this , but neither admits it to themselves or to one another.
James Lantz has a first-rate story to tell, and surprises to spring in what is an exceedingly well-written play. They should not be spoiled, not least the reason why Harry is in such an out of control state of mind, way beyond the offence given by the old bus.
Red herrings are laid, and the plot does not go where one expects. The playing is universally good, with Matt Ian Kelly outstanding as the enraged Harry, a far better father than he seems at first. Kane John Scott (Jordan) and William Ross-Fawcett (Ian) are utterly believable as the two young boys, one pragmatic and up-front about his sexuality, the other trapped in a closet of his own and his parents’ creation.
Robert McWhir’s direction is impeccable as he keeps the whole thing moving briskly. There is also an impressive, impressionist set by David Shields. If one has any reservations it is that the actors are a shade too loud – there are only four rows of seats and no back wall of the Gods to hit.
Sloat: Ian Dring.
Sarah: Katharine Jee.
Harry Deforge: Matt Ian Kelly.
Ian: William Ross-Fawcett.
Jordan: Kane John Scott.
Little Girl: Alexandra Vincent.
Director: Robert McWhir.
Designer/Costume: David Shields.
Lighting: Elliot Griggs.