Raw and Sincere, InSuffolk Review on Time for the Good Looking Boy
I have to admit that I was a little dubious when I walked into The New Wolsey Studio last night and claimed my ticket for Time for the Good Looking Boy. The play, a Box Clever Theatre production presented by Half Moon, was written by Michael Wicherek as the latest in the Urban Mischief Project, a series of original plays developed for young adults. I had seen promotional material featuring a young man in a McKenzie t-shirt and baseball cap, accessorised with the vital pair of Apple headphones, and I sincerely hoped I wasn’t about to sit through an angst-ridden dramatisation of my high school years.
However it seems I was guilty of making stereotypical judgements that Time for the Good Looking Boy confounds. Yes, it features elements quintessential to most teenage lives: parental emancipation, first relationships, annoying younger siblings and parties the memory of which will make you cringe in a few years, time. But despite these familiar, saturated concepts, I found the production surprisingly compelling and at times even confrontational.
I wasn’t entirely prepared for the intensity of Carl Chambers’ performance in this one-man show. Adept delivery of a powerful script magnetically coaxed me into the life of this seemingly unexceptional character, before I found myself forced back by a change of pace and an unexpected turning of tables.
There was a rawness and sincerity to the piece which, emphasised by a simplistic set and dynamic lighting design, cleverly played with the notions of a home just a little too far out of reach. But, just as I was being led to challenge particular stereotypes, I had the impression that such sincerity was also intended for questioning.
Hailed as an urban ghost story my only criticism would be that perhaps Time for the Good Looking Boy reveals its sting in the tail just a little too soon. However, undoubtedly aimed at an audience of young adults, the message it delivers focuses on the hard-hitting consequences of the realities of responsibility, and the judgements such realities can cause. Perhaps the ghosts here are most importantly present lurking in the shadows of shattered youthful dreams and it is to the production’s credit that it makes no attempt at judgement itself.
Instead it is the audience who find themselves in the role of jurisdiction, looking down upon the boy who states ‘You think I am good on the outside and bad on the inside’, knowing that the decision they are being forced to make concerns themselves as much as, if not more than, the fictional persona before them.
Time for the Good Looking Boy is at the New Wolsey Studio from 2nd – 4th October. Details at www.wolseytheatre.co.uk