Extra Virgin

4
Wed, 16th Jan 19
Seen at Above the Stag.

Extra Virgin review 4*This is an excellent production of a play I really didn't like. No, it wasn't that I didn't like it, I was very aware with all it's twists and turns, of the writer, Howard Walters, trying to show us how clever his plot was without developing much character. So all credit to the actors for imbuing the show with life.

Two guys on a Grindr hook up have sex, then there is a succession of revelations that link their pasts. So much information in 50 minutes means that there is little chance to develop character in the writing. There were many laughs in the first 20 minutes, mainly rising from superb delivery – there were few in the remaining 30 as the twists took control.

James Farley as Noah hosts the encounter in his bedroom. He shows a delicate blend of timid and controlling as the little twink reveals a darker side. Alexander Hulme makes Eliot powerful yet damaged. This actor is an expert at displaying controlled emotion, you can see his character fighting to maintain his cool whilst his eyes brim with tears.

After an early static scene where they sit in bed, Director Peter Bull makes full use of the set and circumstance to give us interesting pictures to vary the scene. The production is well paced, never letting the pressure drop.Fight Director Kieran Mortell has choreographed credible violence which flashes alarmingly from nowhere: excellent reaction work from the actors.

I was left oddly uninvolved. But other audience members were stricken by the story. The people I spoke to were evenly split: some loved it, some hated it – there was no-one in between. So this is a classy production of a marmite show - You need to go to make your own decision.

Derek Benfield


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