Beautiful Thing at Home Mcr
Beautiful Thing is playing at HOME until November 11th. It’s a heart-warming revival of Jonathan Harvey’s original, co-produced with Theatre Royal Stratford and Leeds Playhouse, and directed by Anthony Simpson-Pike.
The story is well known. Jamie, 18, and his mother Sandra live next door to Ste, 16, and his violent father on the one side, and Leah, the boys’ friend who’s been expelled from school on the other, and who’s addicted to Mama Cass. Jamie is a sensitive lad, whereas Ste is into sports – football in particular. Ste is routinely beaten up by his father and siblings and takes refuge overnight next door, topping and tailing with Jamie in his bed. Sandra’s latest boyfriend, Tony, provides an undercurrent storyline with their relationship developing and eventually boiling over.
After one particularly ferocious beating, Jamie applies some lotion to Ste’s scars and topping and tailing is no more. The rest of the play is about them coming to terms with their new relationship and others’ rection to it.
It’s extremely well done. The flier describes Sandra (Shvorne Marks) as a lioness and it’s a fitting description. Leah (Scarlett Rayner) starts out as a bit of a dropout, but in the second act she is high on something and literally becomes Mama Cass – albeit in a slightly more diminutive form. It’s very funny indeed.
Tony (Trieve Blackwood-Cambridge) has a difficult role to play, trying to keep Sandra happy and helping Jamie to accept himself. He does it very well.
Ste (Raphael Akuwudike) and Jamie (Joshua Asaré or Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran depending on the flier or the website) are both perfect in their roles, and the warmth as their relationship develops would melt a heart of stone.
There is a lot of robust humour together with some extremely convincing emotional and punchy moments, but at the end everything turns out well (except for Tony) and the audience was on its feet in praise.
Paul Schofield for Canal Street Media.
Published: 6-Nov-2023 (7302)