Theatre in Wales

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At the Sherman

Sherman Theatre Company- Saturday Night Forever , Studio, Sherman Theatre , March 21, 2001
MONOLOGUES, if you hadnít noticed, are the new rock íní roll.
Take the legacy of Thatcherite individualism, add the cult of the confessional, spice with our obsession with personal identity, add a dash of stand-up comedy and remember that one-person shows are the cheapest form of theatre and it should come as no surprise. And the dramatic monologue, after all, is just about someone telling us about themselves.

The trouble with Lee, the central character in Roger Williamsís entertaining play revived by the Sherman Theatre Company, is that he doesnít really know who he is.

In fact Lee is a gay guy in a straight world but so oblivious of the dangers and fears most people have of living with difference - wrapped up in his teenage-romance world of love and pop culture he only occasionally realises he is regarded as different.

An innocent abroad, protected by the gay Cardiff scene, he coasts along on a superficial cloud of self-obsessed fluffiness until reality, in the form of ugly Welsh macho homophobia, literally smacks him in the face and cuts him down.

As a political event, Saturday Night Forever (revised for this new production) was, and is, important.

It attacks prejudice, it makes gay culture visible, and it is often very funny and has an ironic handle on popular soap-style fiction.

Darren Lawrenceís performance looks clumsy initially but ultimately reveals itself as skilful, seductive and knowing.

But Iím still not sure if Roger Williams, a clever, committed playwright, exploits or is constrained by the pop culture he embraces.

I feel the play would be better if it subverted the romance genre more wittily and didnít succumb to formulaic TV comedy of programmed comic scenes and a happy ending.

Fortunately Steve Fisherís sensitive and intelligent direction points up the dark side to this

Reviewed by: David Adams

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