The King’s Head Theatre concludes their West End season with Tommy Murphy’s three-hander play Strangers In Between. Set in Australia, the play is about Shane who has fled his hometown to leave his troubled family behind. Adam Spreadbury-Maher, the artistic director of the King’s Head Theatre, has directed an excellent coming of age comedy about growing up and being a gay man in Australia.
Roly Botha plays Shane with such a timid awkwardness, that I instantly felt a connection to him when he spent the first scene shaking, filled with anxiety. It is a remarkable performance, considering his professional debut was in this play back at the King’s Head Theatre. It is a truly marvelous performance, never once ignoring Shane’s home life and how that has shaped him, which the play touches upon. This is precisely evident in his relationships with Will and Peter.
Dan Hunter plays Will, a slightly older man who Shane forms a sexual relationship with. While Shane is anxious and temperamental, Will is more relaxed and free-spirited, which made a nice parallel between them. This also helped as Dan Hunter doubles as Shane’s raging brother Ben at the end of act one. And it is an excellent transition between the two characters.
However, it is Stephen Connery-Brown who plays Peter, who constantly stands out in the show with consistently excellent delivery of the more lighthearted lines in the play. The relationship between Peter and Shane was very moving, as Shane found a father figure in Peter that he (probably) never had growing up. I really liked their relationship, except for one moment where a scene between them did turn slightly sexual. However, I didn’t feel the chemistry was as strong as it was between Shane and Will. I also didn’t really see the point of it as all it did was lead Shane into another self hating, homophobic rant. But other than that, I thought the casting and directing choices with Peter were excellent.
The Trafalgar Studios 2 is a brilliant setting for this very intimate play about relationships. Tommy Murphy’s writing is a fine balance of lighthearted and hard hitting. The use of lighting and sound between the scenes were vibrant and fast paced, designed beautifully by Richard Williamson and Jonathan McLeod. Transitions between scenes are usually a big issue with me, but not once was I taken out of the play nor was I distracted. They fit really well into the story it was telling.
Overall, I’d give Strangers In Between a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. At a 2 hour running time, it is a short play but indeed packs a punch. And it is a great example of what the King’s Head Theatre has to offer.
Strangers In Between is currently running at the Trafalgar Studios 2 until 3rd February. For tickets and more information please visit http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/strangers-in-between/trafalgar-studios/
For information on the King’s Head Theatre visit http://www.kingsheadtheatre.com/
Until next time,