nick730 (nick730) wrote,

Theatre review: fuchsia

Well this was weird. Former Hollyoaks¹ writer Matthew Westwood's play takes place over several nights in the chillout room of a London club. There we meet Guy, who after several years has met up again with an old one night stand, Edward. Edward used to be hugely muscled, and after their encounter Guy remodelled himself in his image. His idol however has moved on, and has now teamed up with Amanda, a playwright who genuinely believes people can fly, a bit. The star of her play is Deborah, a fading sitcom star, reigniting her long-lost relationship with photographer Christopher, who has just revealed he's bisexual. Add in Guy's fag-hag Bridget, and his abusive boyfriend Hunter, and you've got a large ensemble floating in and out of each other's lives.

In terms of tone, the play's all over the place; its setup suggests a comedy, and there are some funny moments, largely provided by Moya Brady (one of the members of L.I.N.D.A. in Doctor Who) as Bridget, and Jacqueline Pearce's fixed beatific smile as Amanda. In parts it should feel like a tragedy, with Guy trying to become a clone of first Edward then later Hunter, rather than himself. Elsewhere there's a wistful tone, and although for the most part I enjoyed the various elements, I didn't think they fell together that well. What really doesn't gel though is the mystical element of Amanda & co's weird little levitation cult - I could never quite get a handle on whether Westwood sees them as ridiculous or has some respect for their ability to believe. Ultimately there seem to be two separate plays here vying for attention. Another thing that annoyed me a lot: One of the scenes has been set on the day of the 7/7 bombings, but not only do the characters only occasionally remember to give a shit, but Christopher, who seems to specialise in shooting pictures of disasters, apparently hasn't noticed he's in the middle of one and might want to go off and do some work.

The performances aren't bad though, and the totty factor helps get over some of the gripes. As Guy we've got Gary Amers, who played the American boyfriend in Beautiful People. There's no nudity but he gets his shirt off a couple of times and he's no disappointment.

As Christopher there's James Carlton, who was apparently on Emmerdale but is probably best-remembered for this memorable guest appearance on Peep Show:

Sadly he remains fully clothed throughout, but he's very hot regardless, and makes his character likeable. And not slouching in the fittie stakes is Jamie Maclachlan as Hunter (Google images has not been my friend in this case so no pic) but in his smallish role he's excellent: On the one hand authentically menacing, on the other hand getting some good laughs.

Apparently fuchsia is intended as the first in a trilogy. Perhaps the later plays will explain what's going on a bit better, but I couldn't help feeling that if Westwood's giving himself three plays to tell his story in, the first really shouldn't have been so overcrowded with ideas. fuchsia by Matthew Westwood is booking until the 22nd of February at the White Bear.

¹Andrew Moss (Rhys) was in the audience. In the interval he went out for a fag and if I still watched the 'Oaks (and therefore still gave a shit) I'd have been sorely tempted to go up to him and ask him to stop sneering "eeeeerrrrrrr" at the start of every sentence.
Tags: theatre

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