James Cooney races around the stage, marked out as a square school playground, as if a wild animal caged inside it. He gives a high energy performance as a 15 year old boy in late 1980s Liverpool, hero worshipping John Barnes and longing to grow a moustache. He rants at his authoritarian father, a single parent, and mouths adolescent obscenities, boastfully recounting mischievous escapades and petty lawbreaking as he and a friend try to raise the cash to pay for tickets to a football match. Written by Luke Barnes, the first half of this monologue is moderately amusing, if over familiar and seemingly lacking in purpose. It holds the interest only because of Cooney’s performance, but then it is revealed that the football match is to be played in Sheffield and the tone changes instantly. All the lack of respect for authority and disregard for others shown by the teenager are now put into perspective and seen in a new light. The play does not examine causes of or attribute blame for the events that followed, it simply describes them and tries to evaluate the cost in terms of young lives permanently scarred or extinguished. A poignant hour.
Performance date: 10 August 2014