Red Bud

While middle classes Brits slug it out verbally in Tribes in the main house
downstairs, upstairs things get much more visceral when a quartet of old
friends meet up for the 22nd time on the eve of the annual Michigan
motocross championship.

They’ve been coming here since high school to “Get
high. Get drunk. Get wild.” in Californian playwright Brett Neveu’s short
and increasingly unpleasant new play.

Tensions are immediately apparent in the joshing between the old buddies.
Jason’s lost his job and sold off his belongings in a garage sale, Shane’s
been demoted, and Bill’s brought along his latest squeeze (blonde 19
year-old Janna who soon strips to bikini top and shorts) whose youthful
charms brings out the jealously competitive worst in his near middle-aged
mates.

Late arrival Greg, with his seven-months pregnant wife in tow, is in a
foul mood right from the off.
The trouble is, they’re getting older – with all the disappointment that
brings – but still insist on behaving just as they did when they were
irresponsible teenagers.

Their American dream isn’t ever going to
materialise – and they’re starting to realise it.
As the light fades and the beer cans and whiskey bottle empty, the
atmosphere darkens along with the sky.

There’s nothing wrong with the
performances, with Tom Hadley’s super-realistic design (a battered pick-up
and real grass you can smell) or with Jo McInnes’ direction – but Neveu’s
writing does little more than make an obvious statement and, without knowing
more about his characters, it’s hard to care when things turn really nasty.

3/5

Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
020 7565
5000
Tube: Sloane Square
royalcourttheatre.com
Until November 13
£10-£15

– Louise Kingsley