Written by Nathan Lucky Wood
Directed by Jennifer Davis
After a critically acclaimed run at the King’s Head Theatre, Nathan Lucky Wood’s spine-chilling play transfers to the VAULT Festival.
“You should be careful, Mark. There are some really dangerous people out there.”
It’s Halloween, but Mark’s not going out. While his mum buries herself in work, he’s staying in, playing Xbox, and talking to Ghost. He doesn’t know his real name. It’s anonymous, and Mark likes it that way.. He feels like they can be honest with each other. But it turns out that Ghost knows more than he should. And he really, really wants to meet…
Nathan Lucky Wood, whose plays have been performed at The Roundhouse, The Bush, The Arcola, and the Southwark Playhouse, gives us an insight into the play:
“As a sexually confused teenager, you have feelings and desires you don’t fully understand and aren’t sure you can express publicly. The internet can feel like a safe space to explore them anonymously. At the same time, you’re aware of the well-publicised dangers of the online world. A Haunting explores adolescence, the internet and the fears we have around it.”
Roly Botha – Mark
Jake Curran – Ghost
Izabella Urbanowicz – Anna
15th – 19th Feb 21:15 Matinee 18th Feb 16:30
The VAULT Festival Pit The Vaults Leake St, Waterloo, SE1 7NN
“A delightful, yet deeply dramatic account of a young man’s troubled journey into adulthood”
Tommy Murphy’s award winning play returns to the King’s Head Theatre after a hugely popular and critically acclaimed run last year. Retaining the same cast, would this coming of age story still delight?
Strangers in Between is a story focused around Shane (Roly Botha), a naïve teenager who has run away from the challenges of his life in small town Goulburn to the bright lights of Sydney.
Struggling to hold down dead end jobs and living in near squalor in a damp, potentially haunted room (according to Shane), the totally undomesticated youngster meets Will, a blue eyed blond hunk with perfect lips (once again, according to Shane). He and Will share some passionate times until Shane’s immaturity ruins their friendship.
Shane also manages to alienate his only other friend in the city, the middle aged overtly gay Peter (Stephen Connery-Brown), a man quick on the saucy innuendo and racy ribaldry.
When he most needs his few friends, his brother Ben (also played by Dan Hunter), whom he left Goulburn to get away from, turns up. An already angst-ridden Shane falls deeper into a world of desolation.
Casting is spot on, Stephen Connery-Brown expertly grasping the nuances of the experienced older gay man in Peter. Dan Hunter shines both as the seemingly clean cut Will and the deeply troubled Ben. But by far the stand out performance is by Roly Botha, every expression, every word, every move all totally believable. He makes you want to reach out and hug Shane. And teach him how to do the laundry.
There are some wonderful gags throughout. Shane’s lack of life skills bringing some of the biggest laughs with curious yet endearing questions such as ‘Where do you get coat hangers from?’ followed by the toe curling ‘how do you do anal sex?’. The food / Ben’s girlfriends gag is a nice one and cleverly resurrected later in the play (go see the play if you want to know what it is!).
For the small space, the play is well designed. Basic sets changed by the cast and smoothly transitioned with sound and lighting work well.
This is a truly touching story of lives unexpectedly brought together and of bonds broken and mended. For me, the back story of what had happened to Ben was a little rushed and the nudity of the last scene really served no purpose. Other than that, an engaging couple of hours.
A thoughtful portrayal of youthful inexperience, sexuality, family and friendships. Catch it while you can.
Strangers in Between is at the King’s Head Theatre until 4th February. Click on the logo below for tickets and further information.