So far there's been quite a wide gap in quality between the Papatango competition winner
and the runners-up; and after his recent Ex
I was particularly worried about Crush
, Rob Young's entry and the final runner-up to get a week's run at the Finborough. Fortunately this 55-minute, blackish comedy makes for more interesting viewing. Working on an obscure current affairs magazine, Johnny (incredibly hot Matt Roberts) has been fixated on his editor Celia (Dolly Wells, best-known as Gwyneth Paltrow on Star Stories
) for years. New receptionist Laura (Erin Richards - the ill-fated police detective in the last series of Being Human
) looks like a stereotypical busty blonde man-eater but reveals Machiavellian depths as she helps Johnny go after the disinterested Celia, all the time starting to fall for him herself.
Though not big on belly-laughs (and it feels as if the play thinks it's funnier than it actually is) Crush
is likeable, with a pleasingly twisted core. And I don't suppose these limited-run shows can have had particularly long rehearsal periods (though the cast, especially Richards, give confident performances regardless) so more jokes might hit their mark if their delivery was slicker. One thing that is
slickly done is what I take it is a piece of stage magic; either that or Roberts can hold his breath for a remarkably long time.
Incidentally, though on the evidence of these four plays the right script won the competition, the directors of the other three productions (Laura Casey here) all seemed to avoid the blocking problems that blighted Foxfinder
- ironic, since it was for that play that the catwalk-like thrust was built, and the other shows had to work around that design.Crush
by Rob Young is in repertory until the 23rd of December at the Finborough Theatre.