The Boy Who Cried at the Hope Theatre
The Boy Who Cried, a new play by Matt Osman, is a darkly funny and thought-provoking piece of theatre. Set in a world where werewolves are sought for human atrocities, and suspected men are subjected to 28 days of torture before either admitting to the crime or waiting until the full moon does it for them. It’s prejudice run riot, where the blame game means no one is beyond the gaze of the vigilant Protection Officers.
Corruption and deceit are at the centre of this process, as realised by the cruel Protection Officer Thompson, who suspects local boy Sam of killing a missing girl. Jake Curran is eerily compelling in the role, and Shelley Lang is suitably impressionable as Sam’s lonely mother.
After being called in to investigate Sam’s suspicious behavior, Officer Thompson’s insatiable desire for results leads to him inflicting a form of human torture on Sam (Jordan Mallory-Skinner) in an attempt to prove, by whatever means possible, that he is indeed a werewolf. Some dark humour gives the piece glimmers of brilliance and the space allows the Hope Theatre to be transformed into a fully immersive traverse set up.
Despite the clever staging, it is overly long and tends to drag in places. Transitions are often feel clunky and could do with a bit more space, but Mary Franklin’s production includes some intriguing attention to detail, even down to Trainee Officer Spencer’s whistling the overture from Peter and the Wolf.
The two trainee officers (Loz Keystone and Hamish McDougall), who double up as the newsreader and weatherman in this dystopian world, bring some light relief to the piece. Their naiveties threaten to thwart Officer Thompson’s meticulous plan and their constant loitering only serves to strengthen the immersive atmosphere.
This is a brave play with ambition that swamps the small venue. With some tightening up and a slight cut in length, it has an enormous amount of potential.
Photos: Christopher Tribble
The Boy Who Cried is at the Hope Theatre until 29th March 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.