Tory Boyz

Tue 29th April – Sat 3rd May 2014

reviews

Jenni Reid

at 23:29 on 29th Apr 2014

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1disagrees

Not so much the sharp and witty take on Tory party politics I had come expecting, ‘Tory Boyz’ is more a thoughtful, bittersweet look at gay people’s experiences in modern society, and this production’s cast and crew have put on a highly nuanced and engaging show.

Mixing storylines from past and present, we follow a young Edward Heath (Tris Hobson) struggling to keep his private life private, a rowdy group of teens beginning to engage with politics, and Tory researcher Sam (Andrew Room) who is attempting to reconcile his homosexuality with his party’s muddled relationship with gay people – and through them, we see how the confusions and prejudices of the past are not always as distant as we like to believe.

Bea Svistunenko has evidently directed the show with confidence and ambition; the opening sequence, which sees a drab education department office brought to life under the direction of a conductor later revealed to be Heath, is superb. Music and lighting are used to great effect throughout, giving the show a polished feel. For me the only weak points were the scenes showing Ted Heath’s childhood, which seemed somewhat clumsy compared to the precision of the rest of the show and went on for too long without serving much purpose.

Andrew Room as Sam was hugely likable and his acting was natural and effortless, counterbalanced by Kyle Turakhia’s aggressive, domineering performance as Sam’s chief of staff. Their thorny relationship was enough to make anyone squirm, but we recovered through the lovely chemistry between Sam and his would-be date James (Jake Spence). Rebecca Cusack gave a stand-out supporting performance which had the audience in stitches each time she walked onstage, and the atmosphere in the classroom scenes was excellent. Occasionally key lines or speeches felt a little too forced and contrived, although whether this was a fault of the script or the acting it is hard to say.

'Tory Boyz' is timely, thought provoking and satisfying. Having premiered to a packed Corpus Playroom, it certainly deserves as full and rapt an audience for the rest of its run.

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