Instead of getting to play baby of the family Joseph in an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, “Any Dream Will Do” finalist Daniel Boys finds himself woefully underused as Christian, the older brother of suicidal teenager Bernie in Russell Labey’s musical version of Canadian Brad Fraser’s macabre play from the early 80’s.
Bernie is incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital which seems to employ just a single nurse (who doesn’t sing, but shags Christian) and a solitary doctor (whom Christian talks to but we never see). The victim of a troubled childhood, Bernie refuses to speak to his brother. Meanwhile the occupant of the adjacent room won’t talk to anyone because he thinks he’s a wolf. But after a nastily sadistic start, the two young patients develop a relationship which requires them to whip off their vests and show off their bodies whilst referring to each other as Dorothy and Toto.
It’s a grim, underwritten tale of lycanthropy, abuse, and the exchange of bodily fluids which isn’t helped by some dire dialogue and clumsy staging. And surely in a tiny space like this it really shouldn’t be necessary for the performers to be miked.
Boys’ Christian and his damaged sibling (Gregg Lowe’s vulnerable but sullen Bernie) duet yearningly but this violent, gory four-hander is going to have to rely on the pulling power of its homoerotic content and of former Hollyoaks actors Paul Holowaty and Emma Rigby, rather than on merit, to fill the seats.
Trafalgar Studios (2), Whitehall, SW1A 2DY
Tube: Charing Cross tube
0844 871 7632
Until 31st July
Review: Louise Kingsley