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A 16-year-old boy from small town Australia is discovered in bed with his male friend, 16-year-old gets beaten up by his older brother, 16-year-old moves to Sydney gets a job, 16 years old meets an older guy who he sleeps with, then meets an even older guy who becomes a father figure, 16-year-old boy comes to terms with his sexuality. The end. Strangers in Between could have easily been a one set, two act cliché, but some decent twists, sharp dialogue and solid performances happily saved it from that fate.

The play is set in early years of the 21st century and centres around the coming of age (horrible, hackneyed phrase but sadly the only one that fits), of protagonist Shane. I may have mentioned earlier that he is 16. It’s a simple premise, simply staged, intense at times but not so much as to scare the audience which sit inches from the action in the famously bijou environs of the King’s Head.

Roly Botha does a credible job of portraying Shane, immature yet often mistaken for someone older, frightened yet rashly confident, brittle and vulnerable. Dan Hunter who plays both Shane’s brother and lover, (naturally it’s complicated), pulls off a tricky task with skill and nuance. There’s nothing nuanced about Stephen Connery-Brown in the role of the Peter but there doesn’t have to be. Camp, witty and a whizz in the kitchen, Peter is stereotypical but it somehow doesn’t grate. That’s down to both Connery-Brown’s charming performance and the quality of Tommy Murphy’s writing.  

It’s an enjoyable performance and whilst it doesn’t offer anything particularly new, it delivers some clever lines and well-rounded acting. Oh and there’s around three seconds of full frontal nudity. If you’re into that sort of thing.

The King’s Head Pub Theatre

Tube: - Angel or Highbury and Islington

Until July 16

£15-£25

www.kingsheadtheatre.com

 

 


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Theatre review of Strangers in Between
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