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Porgy & Bess (tour)

Boys Will Be Boys (tour)

By • West End
WOS Rating:
Boys will be Boys by Simon Williams is a follow-up to his play Nobody's Perfect and carries on the tale of the author of women's novels who creates a fake female personality in order to be able to sell his work. Don't worry, you really do not need to have seen the first play to understand this second. This is a light comedy full of one-liners, female impersonation and deceits, as the author attempts to convince everyone of the existence of his alter ego.

The play takes place over a few days as a TV interviewer, Letitia, who happens also to be a medium, seeks to meet the famous authoress and interview her and Lenny together. Meanwhile, Lenny's estranged wife Fran is back on the scene, his father Gus has moved in and his daughter, Dee Dee, is pregnant and can't tell him.

The set at the Mill at Sonning takes advantage of the wide stage area and is very well put together. Giving us two rooms in the house which throughout the play are linked through radio-microphones and a web-cam so those upstairs can look-in on, and interact with, those downstairs.

As in Nobody's Perfect, Williams plays Lenny, the author and his real life daughter, (a workmanlike but uninspired Amy Williams), plays his daughter Dee Dee. Williams has also directed this production and at times the production suffers from one person wearing too many hats. In particular, the dialogue and pace of the play is often hampered by the excess of one liners, something perhaps not so noticeable 'from the inside'.

Gareth Thomas gives an enjoyable performance as Gus, Lenny's father despite having far too many 'witty responses' to deliver and Karen Ascoe's Fran is a well crafted performance. Letitia (played by Sheila Ballantine) is depicted in an almost 1950's Madame Arcati style. This and the dying phone sound effects border on pantomime and jar badly with the style of the rest of the production.

Williams' own performance is very watchable but lacks colour and, for me, the credibility that allows us to become truly involved with the characters we are watching. I felt like we were the studio audience for a TV sitcom, a genre to which this script may be better suited.

The audience at the performance I attended laughed a lot, so despite the fact that it didn't work for me there clearly were plenty who enjoyed it. In my opinion this is not a well enough crafted or presented play to warrant a night out.

- Robert Iles (reviewed at the Mill at Sonning)


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