Nightflyer*** (Lion and Unicorn Theatre)

Posted: March 8, 2016 in Theatre

Group Credit_ James WoodhamsThis review was originally written for The Reviews Hub: http://www.thereviewshub.com

Teenagers high on drink or other substances are now so common a sight on our city streets that maybe we do not even bother to give them a second look. Martin Malcolm’s one act play, set in the West of England, invites us to spend around an hour taking a peek at what could lie behind the mayhem. Spook (Jack Cottrell) is unconscious outside the Eden club after a night out and his two mates argue whether they should haul him onto the Nightflyer bus home or leave him and head back into the club. Blowtorch (Harvey Bassett), swaggering and manly, is in no doubt that Spook can look after himself, but the more caring Jamster (Matthew Emeny) insists that both must stay with him, receiving homophobic taunts in response to his pleas. Enter two scantily clad young ladies to mirror the disregard and concern of the males. Chloe (Hannah Kelly) is described as “a slapper” being keener to disappear into a dark spot with Blowtorch than to tend for Spook, her ex. Churchgoer Genette (Anishka Klass) stays behind, but shows more interest in Jamster than the stricken Spook. Malcolm’s gritty play is set on the battleground where carefree childhood innocence clashes with adult reality and responsibility. These teenagers face up to the contradictions of relationships and religion and to the realisation that what their elders have warned them against could be true. It feels as if there are too many themes here to be developed fully in so short a play, but it is to the writer’s credit that he leaves us wanting to know more about the characters and their lives. Emeny’s sensitive portrayal of Jamster, tormented by an incident in the past and confused about his sexuality, stands out among five strong performances in James Woodhams’ taut and briskly paced production. No sets or props are used and club music pounds in the background throughout, adding to a feeling of raw energy that masks the play’s implausibilities and makes this an engrossing, if not completely satisfying, hour of theatre.

Performance date: 7 March 2016

Photo: Alex Knight

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