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Honest (Tour-Salisbury Playhouse)

Honest has its moments but lacks focus as it visits the Salisbury Playhouse.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Visiting a graveyard is usually a very sombre experience even in daylight. A place for people to remember and say goodbye to their loved ones.

However teenagers Bel and Maisie decide they must commemorate events in their own way by breaking in at night. Maisie though decides to bring local boy Coog along, and gradually his presence brings many dark secrets (above) to the surface

Honest cast

Overall, Honest is an interesting play. It brings up many issues. Loss, love, bullying, peer pressure, self-harm, abuse. Writer Alice Nicholas wants to address a multitude of anxieties faced by teenagers in one rushed and overcrowded play.

And that's the problem with this play. The piece lacks focus. It moves between issues every few minutes, which in turn is to the detriment to the characters.

Emma Ballantine and Sophie Knight portray the two rebellious girls well, both sharing scars from (the) their troubled pasts. Layton Daws is sweet as the polite mommy's boy, Coog, but he is really there to move the plot along.

This should make for some great character development. But with so many issues crammed in, the characters have to jump between emotions so rapidly that it becomes quite jarring.

Despite these problems the play does have its moments of poignancy. Although Nicholas could do with bringing more focus to the play, it is interesting to watch with the characters as they explore the anniversary of what happened a year ago