About Time You Saw: BoyBy Gilly Hopper
Slipping through a crowd of young male theatregoers manning the doors of the Almeida Theatre, I made my way to the box office to collect my tickets. Leo Butler’s new play, Boy, (showing until May 28th) promised a sharp eye over contemporary London and from its inception was critical and exacting in its focus.
Zoning in on someone for us to follow for the 1 hour 10 minute One Act show, Leo Butler hones in on one particular in-betweener. Someone we might otherwise miss. Someone who, for all intents and purposes, could have been standing outside the theatre amidst the crowd moments before curtain, only we didn’t see him.
In addition to an innovative director-designer team – Sacha Wares and Miriam Buether – the company of young actors, as well as supernumeraries recruited from the borough of Islington, propel the effectiveness of this didactic work on stage.Creating a community on stage, there is diversified chorus of characters. Ruthless slagging and a running commentary from natterers such a Liam’s younger sister Mysha (Ellie-Mai Gallagher) and double-trouble teens (Asiatu Koroma and Terina Drayton) propel the dynamic nature of Boy. Fast, pacey and juxtaposed, Boy is a stagnant portrait of one boy’s aimless day, and subsequently rather aimless life.
Leaving Islington’s most loved theatre, the white majority audience from which I sprung, acknowledged the unsettling irony of presenting a work that highlights and dramatises poverty for a relatively unaffected spectatorship. Boy is a transparent look at our somewhat jaded view of societal structures, highlighting the ramifications of income housing and care cuts. Personal and political, Boy effectively realigns our understanding of the day to day tribulations of some of our city’s youths.
Tickets available here.