Boy’s Life at the King’s Head
After transferring from Camden’s Etcetera Theatre, One Fell Swoop and 11:11 Productions present this 80-minute, American 1970s angst-ridden piece that explores three young men’s journey of self worth from college to marriage.
The piece is directed by Sebastien Blanc; he studied Meisner Technique for four years in Sydney and this is very prominent in the show: the intensity of the direction has moments of indulgence that unfortunately forget about the audience. The actors’ stage craft, however well balanced visually, is so intently focused on one another that we are cut off – some of the scenes seem more appropriate for film or TV, particularly the second, involving Karen (Kellie Jane Walters) and Phil (Luke Trebilock).
Charlotte Gascoyne shines as the girl who Don (Matthew Crowley) brings home as a one-night stand. Her crazed nature is rooted and her delivery is fluid, which Crowley feeds off with ease. His scenes with girlfriend Maggie (Anna Brooks-Beckman) are also good, despite a slightly unjustified aggression Brooks-Beckman brings to Maggie throughout (it seems almost as though she pre-empts Don’s unfaithfulness).
Our unsteady, lost-boy Jack (Max Warrick) has a coolness about him that radiates around the auditorium, but his repetitive, rhythmic delivery, trapped in the nature of the accent, sometimes drops the energy that the actor clearly has. He still manages to be the most relatable character on stage – the confident leader of the pack who tries to hide the life he’s not ready for but has already waded deep into.
The production isn’t one that has you one the edge of your seat, but neither does it have you clock watching. Its intimacy and intense direction just fails to lift any true surge of audience empathy and undoubtedly possesses a filmic rather than stage feel. While Howard Korder’s writing is occasionally static, the set is believable and simply designed, though unless sitting front row, the action on the floor is missed. The soundtrack is excellent and thoroughly reminiscent. On the whole, however, this particular production belongs on screen.
Boy’s Life is at the King’s Head Theatre until 23rd June 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.