Arts & Culture / Reviews

Review: Strangers in Between

The King’s Head Theatre, London
Catch it until 4 February 2017

A cleverly written tale of unconventional relationships between three different aged gay men, focussing on a sixteen-year-old runaway, Shane, who’s stumbling through life in the big city of Sydney, Australia. Terrific one-liners slice up the tension, which is sometimes sexually charged but regularly rather heartfelt and emotionally shocking.

Award-winning playwright Tommy Murphy’s Strangers in Between returns to the intimate King’s Head Theatre, tucked away at the back of the pub with the same name on Islington’s eclectic Upper Street. The show is back to herald in 2017, after a smashing season last summer, and reminds us that life aside from Trump’s inauguration can be pretty bad but there are people who can help you along the way.

Strangers in Between brings to light unnerving anecdotes of paedophilia, finding out that Shane’s brother was molested as a child, while he was forced to watch. Walking in on Shane fooling around with another boy from school triggers a beating from his brother that forces him to flee to Sydney.

An anxiety-ridden Shane (Roly Botha) - Photo: Dee McCourt

An anxiety-ridden Shane (Roly Botha) – Photo: Dee McCourt

Roly Botha plays Shane with a jittery conviction, reflecting his not-so-distant horrific past that is confessed after he gets between the sheets with the hunky Will, who he meets at the corner shop that he works in. Will, played by Dan Hunter who also doubles up as Shane’s brother, thinks Shane is 19 until the traumatised teen breaks down after getting his first bout of genital warts from Will.

The hunky Will (Dan Hunter) - Photo: Dee McCourt

The hunky Will (Dan Hunter) – Photo: Dee McCourt

Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher’s with Becky-Dee Trevernen’s multi-scene set and lighting design have created a simple world that keeps the focus on the characters onstage. Stephen Connery-Brown’s strong performance as Peter, who becomes a parental figure to Shane, deserves a special mention. Peter is quite the stereotypical Queen, with a seemingly vast experience of the gay scene. He is however the perfect person to shove Shane on the right path of acceptance and provide the caring love that he needs.

The perfectly camp Peter (Stephen Connery-Brown) - Photo: Dee McCourt

The perfectly camp Peter (Stephen Connery-Brown) – Photo: Dee McCourt

Definitely try to see Murphy’s harsh yet heart-warming play before it disappears again and I will most certainly be returning to this fringe theatre that has a plethora of off the wall productions coming up.

Visit http://www.kingsheadtheatre.com to book Strangers in Between and have a browse of the other delights on their way.

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