Theatre Review: We're Staying Right Here, Park Theatre

PUBLISHED: 14:44 04 March 2019

Park Theatre Liam Smith and Danny Kirrane in We're Staying Right Here, photograph David Gill

Park Theatre Liam Smith and Danny Kirrane in We're Staying Right Here, photograph David Gill

Archant

A dark, visceral and funny play about the vulnerability of young men carries hints of Withnail and Beckett

Liam Smith as Chris and Tom Canton as Tristabel photo by David GillLiam Smith as Chris and Tom Canton as Tristabel photo by David Gill

Like most of the audience for the world premier of Henry Devas’s play, I spent the first act thinking I was watching a clever post-modern, post holocaust piece. Looking back, all the clues were there for what actually unfolded in the final 45 minutes.

The focus is Matt (a brilliant performance from Danny Kirrane). He’s a not-at-all-bad stand up comedian, overweight, Jonny Vegas soundalike, and so vulnerable.

Sporting a Lemmy moustache and sideburns is Benzies: Daniel Portman’s tour de force Glaswegian. He’s a cocktail of charm, threat and remorse in a white pasty bundle of flab and sweat.

Possessed of a fantastic turn of phrase, he’s happy to oblige with an impromptu dump when requested.

Leading the happy band is tall, blond, elegant, waist coated and Cantona-collared Tristabel.

In an exceptional performance by Tom Canton, he’s a son of Withnail (with grandpa Flashman) with abundant outrage, threat, charm and pure evil.

On a set so distressed that it would make The Young Ones get out the Mr Sheen, the lads joke, banter, squabble, threaten, make up ... and do it all over again.

The door is locked and shuttered, so too the window: something is trying to get in. Centre stage is a ladder that disappears to ... where? Never more that an arm’s length from any character is a bottle of vodka ... and a pile of discarded who-knows-what. The three all intend to leave the grot and ascend the ladder; they clean, polish and shine the ladder; but can never get on the first rung.

At the end of the first act – the white suited Chris descends: is he an Angel? Well, yes, sort of. As we discover after the interval he is there to offer redemption to his nephew Matt. Revealing further detail would spoil this brilliant play dealing the vulnerability of young men. The language is industrial, the violence visceral; the humour dark; and the conceit pure Beckett; the acting could not be bettered and the direction is inspired.

Book now.

5/5

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