When: 19th October – 13th November 2010 Tues – Sat 7.45pm, Sun 5pm
Where: Theatre 503, The Latchmere Pub, 503 Battersea Park Road, London, SW11 3BW
£: 14 (concessions 9)
What is it?
As Britain’s new Coalition Government settles in, and the Opposition debates whether they chose the right brother, Theatre 503 launches a season of new plays that take a playful look at the workings of Parliament. Gabriel Bisset-Smith’s The Charming Man, a satire of modern politics set in 2015, sees Darren Lloyd (Syrus Lowe) go from a passionate youth worker to a central player in British politics. However, this potential rise to power isn’t without its sacrifices. It would seem that the future of politics is ready for TV talent show contest voting but not a gay black Prime Minister.
Theatre 503 is a cosy space, so the plays canny use of a minimalist set and the utilisation of the audience space make it work well. Darren has about the right amount of charm to be believable as a manipulated politician, idealistic youth worker and passionate individual. He may not be a fan of Morrissey but he is indeed a charming man. The rest of the cast play their roles equally well from the disillusioned and closeted Marcus, the bitchy Olivia and the despicable characters of Kenny Fox and Chris Warren. Christopher Brandon, who plays both Kenny Fox and Chris Warren, manages to give his characters the right amount of vileness and humour. As Darren gains power with the help of his party he begins to lose everything else including the youth centre, his relationships and respect. Everything comes to a head when Darren is persuaded to lie and use dirty tactics against his opponent, forcing him to disgust even himself. In the end he turns to Morrissey to reveal his true character to the public.
The combination of brilliant acting, decent script and good direction raises the level of the play to one I think will easily see it transfer to the West End.
More info: Theatre 503