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Boy On A Bed @ The Lowry, Manchester – Review
I read my press release and was intrigued by this theatre company. It sounded to me like they had a lot of prestige already. A few awards and also some good reviews. The Lowry was a great setting for the piece and drew in a good audience.
On arrival I noticed the minimalistic stage set which set the scene by creating three significant zones. There was a space for the girlfriend, a space for the guy in the park and another space in the middle, the bedroom. The central character Adam would run from scene to scene and stitch and link the scenes together. This worked well as a device. It enabled us to learn a lot about Adam and what surrounded his life in a short space of time. The 3 zones evolved and evaporated as the piece went on and we accepted this transition.
Boy On A Bed was about a painting that would be created by an artist and his muse. Adam was the subject of the painting in more ways than one.
The performances were on the whole strong, although it seemed to be a nervous performance at times from certain performers. Adam the lead was played by Adam Carroll-Armstrong. He gave a good performance and had great energy. His gesturing was a little intense initially but I felt that it was perhaps a reflection of him over compensating as his character as an intentional decision. He was obsessed with running and I also felt this was a giving a suggestion that Adam was ‘running’ from something. Benedict (played by Matthew Hattersley) had a good performance and was very likeable. He drew out the sensitive nature of Adam. Benedict was an artist who was always looking for new inspiration – which he found in Adam. My one issue with this performance was that Hattersley stumbled on a few words. This made the performance feel a little untidy in my opinion. Stella (portrayed by Lily Shepherd) was the girlfriend who we all felt sorry for. For me, she represented a stock character – the girl the ‘in the closet’ guy would go for. The vocal dynamics of this character were quite limited and her speeches lacked range to draw an audience in. A little stumbling over text from this actress too. Taylor was played by Michael Loftus – this performance was the annoying one but intentional. He sustained an American accent and delivered his speeches well. He provided the audience with some light humour. I was indifferent to his performance as I felt he served the plot as much as he could in his capacity.
The storyline and plot twists were obvious but worked well. The notion of an artist having to be attached to his inspiration before it could be created was an interesting concept. The one moment I could not appreciate was between the gallery owner Taylor and Benedict the artist. After a moment in the play these two make a mistake. This mistake I found quite unbelievable as a plot twist. In my eyes they would never have been drawn to each other – there characters were very different and had no chemistry or flirtation before this point. I felt this was an unrealistic twist and one I did not appreciate or accept.
The story line and script was well written by Edwin Preece. I liked the moments of poetry to the audience. This made the audience consider the outcome of the ‘boy’ and left me wondering if he would ever be true to himself and truly happy.
The show will be going on to the Buxton Fringe Festival with Underground Venues at The Pavilion Arts Centre:
Fri 11th July, 7:30pm
Thu 17th July, 7:30pm
Thu 24th July, 7:30pm
For more information, please visit the Organised Chaos website.