'Cast transmits that adrenaline rush of maybe the best forming years of your life'

Gabriella La Rocca reviews William Sutcliffe’s New Boy at The Tabard Theatre

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New Boy
22nd April – 17th May 2008 Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, Chiswick W4 1LW


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If you are easily offended ‘New Boy’ is not for you. If you do want to remember what it was like when you were a teenager – the excitement of growing up with all the friendships - then the cast of ‘New Boy’ will transmit that adrenaline rush of maybe the best forming years of your life, that is now completely forgotten.

Growing up is about sex and teenage boys are all about sex. The curiosity is as strong as the urge to have it all the time and experimenting is a pre-requisite. Mark, played by a very energetic and talented Luke Kempner, asks the best s**g at the school, Barry, whose golden blonde hair and expressions remind you, at times, of a very young Steve McQueen, about ‘the art of seduction’. What he is really asking is how does he get it, quickly and with a guaranteed result! It’s incredibly funny.

Adolescence can be painful too and it’s not a school’s playground any more when you are drawn into more serious stuff, the life changing experiences: an affair with a teacher, clearly demonstrating exactly why it happened and why it was never going to last; the discovery of homosexuality causing painful scenes with Mark’s loved ones.

Phil Matthews who plays Dan, Mark’s brother, adds more energy on the stage, making every detail of their differences very real. However funny the play is, it depicts the raw feelings caused by altercations with best friends and siblings. The insecurities and misunderstandings of those tender years are as ‘transparent’ as Mark – a trait that Barry and Dan keep reminding him of. MORE

The cast is skilful and is capable of leaving the audience silent after it has had its fair share of the comic side of adolescent years. Emotions run high and are not easily forgotten. Mistakes are not forgiven – a teenage thing that makes the ending of the play very powerful.

Whether it is through a comment or a circumstance, in William Sutcliffe’s ‘New Boy’ adapted by Russell Labey, you will find something that reminds you, even briefly, of someone who was once close to you.

Gabriella La Rocca

April 24, 2008