This is too easy. Fill a stage with good-looking young people dancing, beatboxing, a capella singing, and it’s easy to make a good show. But Jamie Blake is billed as a play, so what about that?
It’s the story of a young sexual narcissist called Jamie. He cries a lot and he falls in love with Jade, but still manages to sleep with everyone else around; but apparently it’s clever and meaningless, so it doesn’t matter. These women, they say “fuck” a lot and oh how they love their Jamie. Is the writer a man, by any chance?
Later, one of his affairs, Jessica, stitches him up with his best mate Eli. And we’re supposed to find these people interesting?
This is all supposedly validated by a quote from Roland Barthes. Oh, no no no. Just keep it in your trousers, mate.
In the end, the object of his affection, Jade, rejects him because she says he’s in love with being in love – he’s “turned this into a love story that never happened”. The idea is an interesting reversal on the traditional view that men are the opportunists and it’s women who seek commitment. But it’s no more valid or appealing.
And while there are engaging plangent guitar songs from and by Rhys Lewis and “beatbox sensation” Grace Savage and some terrific committed performances from a large and youthful cast, Jamie Blake represents the perfect triumph of style over content. A bit like Jamie himself, really.