(Seen at the afternoon preview performance on 4th May 2017).
"There shouldn't need to be a word for kindness," is the beautiful
guiding philosophy of gentle JD (Keith Stevenson, in his own play).
This warm-hearted actor / writer gives us an humane, deeply human
and frequently hilarious hour or so of pure American entertainment.
The pay-off alone is worth the ticket price, but there are only
things to love until it happens and the whole work resolves with the
sudden clarity of a "Magic Eye" picture.
Joining JD in the dingy motel they call home, unlucky Mitch
(Robert Moloney) clings to his manliness (just) and makes rapid
adjustments to the situation unfolding around him. These are
variously caused by paranoid poet Tommy (Alex Ferns), a stocky
performer with wonderful stage-filling energy and Meth-addicted
girlfriend Marlene (Melanie Gray), a compelling cane with whip-like
intelligence buried under grubby victimhood. Motel owner Flip
(Michael Wade) is your original redneck, yet with a streak of
compassion and given wonderfully sympathetic life in this
Director Harry Burton keeps every second of the 70 minutes
motoring, finding top gear as required near the end. Simon
Scullion's motel room extends around the auditorium, and Jai
Morjaria manages to keep it lit in such a way that the monkey found
itself looking up to double check it wasn't just the decorative
lights being used. Impressive.
There's more expensively cast and staged plays elsewhere in the
West End. There are very few, however, with this combination of
imaginative script, beautifully filled out characters and a sense of
pure dignity. Go, is the monkey advice. Oh, and there are apparently
two sequels to this... over to you, producers...