Sixty five minute one man shows seem to be de rigeur at the moment, as for the second night running I find myself sitting in a theatre watching an actor giving 110% to a character or in this case a dozen characters selling his soul to the audience.
Tonight, the show in question is Away From Home, co-written and performed by Rob Ward. Making a return to London after playing numerous venues across the UK and after one last performance in London (tomorrow – Sun 8 Feb 2015) it's headed to the Auckland Arts Festival.
Away From Home's press materials talk about it tackling homophobia in football and that's partly it. At its heart though is the story of Kyle, a young guy who is a gay escort. When called out to a job, Kyle is confronted with a premier class footballer as his client, and he's not just any footballer but the a player from one of the clubs he reviles “the scum”.
It doesn't take long to realise that Kyle is an incredibly angry young man, he's gobby and prone to flying off the handle. With a facade of cocky bravado, as an audience it's easy to see that he's putting on one hell of a front to get by. Kyle has family problems (they aren't that accepting) and mates who he daren't tell about his side job. There's no doubt he's a ticking time bomb.
When the job with the footballer develops, it's a path to self-destruction as the footballer's fear of being outed take over.
It's an incredible performance from Ward. It's no easy feat to pull off a one man show as one character, let alone to be holding three and four way conversations in character using different accents and characterisations. Add having co-written and co-produced the piece too and you realise the talent at play here. Ward keeps up what can only be described as a frentic pace from start to finish pausing only at odd moments to let the audience in to his inner soul.There's never a boring moment.
The staging of Away From Home is incredibly simple, minimal props and set pieces create varying locations and a major incident in the second half of the play (no spoilers sorry) is creatively handled and well staged. Co-writer Martin Jameson and Ward have developed well thought out characters in realistic scenarios throughout.
Rob Ward is a young actor to watch. I'm looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next. I somehow thing he's got a way to go with this production yet though.
You have one more chance to catch Away From Home in London. Don't miss it!
Bookings 020 78368463 or www.artstheatrewestend.co.uk