Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Review: I Have Never at the Hen and Chickens Theatre

I Have Never 
Hen and Chickens Theatre
Reviewed by Joanne Hewes

Never Have I Ever is a refreshing new play from up-and coming playwright Hugh Roberts. It comically illustrates the bizarre transition between the bubble of university and ‘real life. This play is about selection of interesting young people; their relationships constantly alter as the play goes on. 

Roo (Stanton Wright), Izzy (Elizabeth Grace-Williams) and Billbo (Dominic Creaser) are moving out of their student house after three years at university. The young adults decide to spend their final night swigging from a communal bottle of Strongbow whilst hurling witty ‘banter’ between each other. Sweet baby-faced Creaser manically organises things in an attempt to manage his ever increasing anxiety throughout the play, this character acted as a well needed anchor for the piece.

Wright have the stand out performance playing the super cool whirlwind from Slough; he swanned in and filled the room with his casual charisma. It was all so effortless… everyone loves an underdog!

Grace-Williams gave a great rebellious posh girl who was as common-as-muck in comparison to her ‘rah rah’ elitist boyfriend Miles (Lewis Clarke). Clarke had the audience howling with laughter at his silky smooth delivery; absolutely perfect casting. I was half expecting a couple of the cardboard boxes on stage to spontaneously combust with all the pent-up sexual tension between Wright and Grace-Williams. 

My favourite scene has to be Clarke and Wright sharing an uncomfortable moment of awkwardly trying to undermine each other… I was thankful it stopped before they resulted to comparing penis size!

And poor Layla (Bella Balfe) came over to have some no strings attached fun with Roo to conclude her university education and ended up being sucked in to a colossal amount of drama instead. Balfe has wonderful comic timing and appeared blissfully unaware of any hostility at any time; her vacant expression and ditsy remarks smashed any built-up tension to smithereens.

I realised watching this play how ridiculously middle class university still is. Never Have I Ever begins as a very funny play that takes a very dark turn after some toxic secrets and lies surface through a seemingly harmless drinking game. The play ends with such a BANG… I want to know what happens next!

Good One Theatre comprises of an incredibly capable bunch of young actors, definitely ones to watch. With a couple of tweaks I could see this play making a great pilot episode for a new comedy series on BBC3 - this is definitely not the last we see of Never Have I Ever.

Reviewed by Joanne Hewes

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