Opening Night – 5 June 2017
“A funny and moving play about a young man’s first sexual experience“
Sarah Page is an award winning writer whose new play Punts gets a run at the welcoming and comfortable Theatre 503 in Battersea.
In this modern and edgy production she looks at decisions made by parents of 25 year old man with learning difficulties, Julia/Kitty – a sex worker they bring into his life and the various issues that are born out of that introduction. What we see is both funny, insightful and ultimately heart warming.
To assist her writing Sarah interviewed a number of sex workers from all walks of life including some whose annual income was higher than that of a Prime Minister. All had at some point worked with clients with disabilities.
The action is set in a West London home shared by Alistair, a barrister, his wife Antonia and their son Jack. It is clear from the opening scenes that Antonia is a caring mother; keen to ensure her son is perfectly ready for his first sexual encounter with Julia, chosen after careful research having read hundreds of reviews on ‘Punter-net’. Their exchange is both touching and extremely funny.
Jack has friends at the local rugby club and it seems their main focus of discussion is that of their sexual encounters. He is on the periphery of this talk and he is yet to lose his virginity. For months he thought he was in love with a Lloyds Bank cashier because she winked at him.
The initial meeting of all four characters is uncomfortable and the dialogue are mainly one line responses which did leave the observer to feel that conversations and development of the characters at times seemed quite stilted. There was one part of the play when Antonia and Julia discussed in detail their roles and how they felt about it. We learned a lot for this change of direction in the writing.
We learn much about the characters as all is not what it initially seems and the story of each develops as the events progress.
Christopher Adams plays Jack brilliantly. He is totally believable as a young man with learning difficulties and much can be earned from his character. Florence Roberts takes on her role with confidence though we see more of her acting abilities when she tells more of her real life as Julia, a care worker who supplements her income working as of ‘Kitty’. Clare Lawrence-Moody and Graham O’Mara play the worried yet devoted parents well.
Designer Amelia Jane Hankin has made the most of a small workspace with a minimalist set which Lighting and Sound Designers Dan Saggars and Owen Crouch bring to life with vibrant lighting and thumping sound.
Overall this is a play that looks at some delicate issues with care, insightfulness and humour. If the enthusiastic audience reaction was anything to go by Sarah Page has delivered another well thought of piece of work.
Production photography courtesy of Claudia Marinaro
Punts is a Kuleshov Theatre production running at the Theatre 503 at The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW 503 with matinee, parent & baby friendly and relaxed performances until Saturday 24th June.