Time for the Good Looking Boy- Pleasance Jack Dome (2.50pm)
From the very outset with its introductory theme of Massive Attack’s heavy breathing shrouded ‘Heat Miser’- like some form of resuscitation or an oxygen tent- it is clear this is a drama with a difference. This Box Clever production of Michael Wicherek’s play-billed as an urban ghost story- starring Lloyd Thomas in an outstanding performance is riveting from beginning to its haunting and disturbing conclusion. Essentially a one man vehicle Thomas commands the stage and the audience’s attention with a seemingly consummate ease. He may fulfil the criteria of the good looking boy the script demands but his talent extends far beyond the corporeal with a performance which is seamless and beyond accomplished. He actually inhabits his characters persona for the plays duration.
Beginning with The Boy locked out his house after a drunken night out and an argument with his girlfriend it seems like any other 19 year old boy anywhere at any time. Moments of boyish bravado delivered in an initially humorous London gangster patois slip into moments of introspection, lurching into an inability to articulate his emotions and back into humour again almost without the audience noticing a change in the dynamic. So compelling and involved is his performance. The Boy may be on a journey of self discovery but he is taking us with him. Through every scenario Thomas is spellbinding never letting up or revealing where he is about to take us next whilst snatches of song drift in and out articulating random thoughts and creating an ambience relevant to the unfolding drama. An emotional exchange he enacts between him and his 13 year old sister is funny but deeply serious at the same time revealing how genuine emotions can be expressed without drowning in lachrymose sentimentality. As the tale unfolds and events spiral out of control the dialogue becomes more harrowing whilst the ‘human volcano’ within The Boy seems about to erupt. The outcome of what happens to one who lives on the edge becomes clearer.
Every aspect of this production is outstanding. From the bare, basic stage set which subtly changes to reflect different moods and situations to the cleverly crafted and selected musical interludes, the atmosphere is intense and gripping. It is Thomas though who captivates throughout. His magnetic performance never wavers instead it grows throughout the hour long duration of the show and he produces a captivating, totally absorbing, spellbinding performance. It may be time for the good looking boy of the tragic drama but for another one-Thomas- his time is just beginning.