He didn't have the showiest of parts in the London cast of Spring Awakening
but since then Harry McEntire has been one of the busier of the show's alumni on the London stage and has been developing into rather an impressive little actor. TV viewers might have seen him as the teenage Ernie Wise in Eric and Ernie
over Christmas - funnily enough tonight the audience included Bryan Dick, who played the older Ernie in that TV movie. It's nice to think he might have been there specifically to see his "younger self." Anyway despite the fact that he's at times playing a child, Winterlong
definitely sees McEntire in a very adult role, complete with
So there was a dick visible on stage, and a Dick in the audience. Well, that wasn't incredibly tortuous for the sake of a not-even-really-a-joke, was it? I suppose I should get on with the actual review now.
Andrew Sheridan's award-winning Winterlong
is a pretty hard play to get a handle on. Oscar (McEntire) is growing up in Manchester in what is probably the late '70s and early '80s and he's starved for affection. His parents abandon him after a couple of years (the only moment of animation from his dead-eyed mother [Rebecca Callard] coming when she's describing the numerous ways she wishes she'd killed him when he was born) to be raised by his grandparents. His grandfather (Paul Copley) openly dislikes him and the only hint of love comes from his grandmother (Gabrielle Reidy,) although she too finds it hard to express it. Basically this is a relentlessly grim, surreal family drama in which Oscar grows up to be a loner; although as we leave him at the age of 15, we don't really get to see what Sheridan's point is about what kind of adult this childhood has created. Filled with recurring imagery of the apocalypse, dead animals, bare feet, at times it feels like the writer is aiming for something Pinteresque but it only occasionally hits the mark. More successful is Sarah Frankcom's production which offers some memorable images and a lot of strong performances, with McEntire nicely differentiating Oscar between the ages of six and 15 and providing the only thing resembling a relatable character. And now that he's a bit older (I think he's about 20?) he's growing into his looks.
Yes, this photo is just before the aforementioned nude scene. It's pretty brief but I think his casting as Ernie Wise was religiously accurate.
Oh and the programme doesn't have bios of the cast and creatives, just a cast listing before the playtext, so that's a bit shit. I mean I've said before, I like
playtext programmes (it's good to be able to check lines you liked or even hated, and if nothing else it feels like you're getting added value) but it's nice if they actually do
function satisfactorily as a programme.Winterlong
by Andrew Sheridan is booking until the 12th of March at Soho Theatre.