Friday, 31 January 2014

Away From Home, re:play festival 2014

This relentlessly energetic one-man play is less My Beautiful Launderette meets the Premier League, more Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads on speed.

The subject is homosexuality and football, a topic dramatised by Kyle (Rob Ward) who leads a peculiar but normalised life as an out-of-the-closet football devotee and secret gay sex worker. When a famous opponent player turns out to be a new client, Kyle’s carefully controlled life begins to tilt out of his control.

Theatre on social ‘issues’ is too often toe-curlingly earnest but Ward carries Away From Home with enormous presence, Scouse charm, unapologetic language and a dose of well-observed humour. Don’t let the ‘one man’ performance fool you, the stage is peopled with secondary characters that are brought to life only through Ward’s dynamic telling.

If the script is occasionally a little baggy it doesn’t hamper the performance and there are genuinely exhilarating moments. When Kyle sees his lover in a nightclub draped over an attractive would-be WAG he drunkenly hurls a well-known chant from the stands in his direction, now riddled with convoluted meaning: Who are ya? Who are ya? It’s a terrific moment and should have been the title of the play.

Ward misses neither a beat nor a line, devouring the set as he relays his unlikely tale to an unseen lover and by proxy to us.

No spoilers, but as in life there are no neat resolutions, and still no footballers out of the closet. Let’s hope when the real thing happens there’s a lot less drama.

There are two performances tomorrow,Saturday 1st of February, tickets here.

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