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Beautiful Thing at the Arts Theatre, London

I felt the need to resurrect my blog after a couple of months of hibernation, and the perfect opportunity came following my viewing of an absolutely superb play on Saturday. As it happens I have spoilt the punchline of whether the show was any good already, but matters not, let me go back to the beginning.

I was due to be in London on Saturday so I rooted about looking for a play to see while there and it turned out I managed to find one featuring one of of my favourites, Suranne Jones. So I booked up, with genuinely no knowledge at all about what the play was about (I am want to do this whenever in the city).

Following buying the tickets, I did a little research into the play and discovered that this was originally a play, made into a film and now this a 20th anniversary version of the play. A play about the developing relationship of two young boys burgeoning love for each other. It is not a theme for a play that I would have specifically chosen to go and see, and perhaps many might think the same. All of them and myself could not be more wrong to prejudge. It was a sweet, witty, and thoroughly entertaining play.

Leading the cast as the mother of one of the boys, was Suranne Jones (lovely) as Sandra, and in a role, somewhat out of type for her, she mostly excelled, maybe with a suspicious hint of dodgy dialect, but that mattered not. Her role clearly had all the best comic lines, and with some gloriously fruity jokes. Suranne genuinely seemed to be having a ball in the role, and we all did watching. In the performance I saw, there was also a most wonderful corpsing moment for Suranne when there was an issue with a shut door, or lack of, let's say. A wonderful moment, that of course is "non-professional" for the snooty types no doubt, but part of the joys of a live performance.

As the two boys, Jake Davies and Danny-Boy Hatchard (the latter in his professional debut) both excelled in their comic and serious moments, Hatchard particular was perfectly able to get the real tears flowing when they were needed on a number of occasions.

Zaraah Abrahams and Oliver Farnworth both had less to do in their supporting roles, but by no means did either come up short. Abrahams was fun and frivolous in her role and got to do a couple of nice singing performances, while Farnworth got the obvious pleasure of having Suranne all over him, so I of course hated him. He had perhaps the most caricatured role as Tony, but he managed to make it gloriously his own.

The stage design I feel should have special mention as well. Incredibly simple, but because of this highly beneficial to the performances, allowing them to just get on with it. Pretty much just three doors and the bed, made a nice clean environment for the actors to do their stuff.

Final mention though of course to writer Jonathan Harvey for a surprising, witty script. Certainly a product of its time, anyone not around in the early nineties might find themselves wading through many of the period jokes, but I was there and I got pretty much everything and enjoyed every moment.

So, to sum up. A wonderful play, which I am very happy to have accidentally come across in pursuit of one of my favourites. Something I would highly recommend anyone should see, without prejudice. It is indeed a Beautiful Thing to behold.

Just go and see it, but be quick in London, or you shall have to chase it around the country.

http://www.beautthing.com/


21st April 2015 UPDATE: Beautiful Thing is now touring around the country until July 2015. See the above link for details.


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