Having confused DC Moore with DC Jackson, whose particular brand of misanthropy I haven't so far been able to click with, I didn't pay much attention when I saw Honest
advertised. On seeing the wall-to-wall rave reviews though I looked again and realised Moore was in fact the author of last year's The Empire
, which I liked, so off I went to the upstairs bar of The Queen's Head, a tiny pub near Piccadilly Circus (booking is via the Soho Theatre.) There's a certain kind of person who prides themselves on "calling a spade a spade," which usually just means they lack tact. Dave (Trystan Gravelle) declares himself a step further than that, as no longer able to lie, even about the fact that a child's painting is a bit shit. For the first half of this 40-minute monologue, he shares his frustrations in life, mainly with his job in an inherently pointless Government department. It's not the done thing to point out when someone's bad at their job or when the way things are done makes no sense, which means the whole place runs even less smoothly. Then on a drunken office outing Dave tells his boss exactly what he thinks of him, and the rest of the play follows his night-long walk across London to see his young nephew and perhaps be forgiven for his searing honesty.
Polly Findlay directs a show that's worth the trip despite its short running time and is constructed as if Dave has just started randomly talking to strangers at the pub. Gravelle is incredibly engaging¹ and holds your attention from the start in a funny monologue with moments of pathos; although in a way this is also the one thing wrong with the show, as he's more likeable and dashing, less the cunt he assures us, in his opening line, he is. Still this is a great example of "less is more" overall, especially as there's reason to think the story is actually darker than we're being told - Dave appears to be dressed for a funeral, sitting alone sipping at a Coke. It might last only 40 minutes but it sets your brain buzzing long afterwards.Honest
by DC Moore is booking until the 3rd of April at the Queen's Head Pub.
¹I've been overusing that word lately; that's the trouble with writing reviews, after a while you run out of new ways to say stuff. Still, at least I've not started saying "visceral."