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How to Curse

Published Friday 19 October 2007 at 12:10 by Evelyn Curlet

Josie Rourke’s inaugural production as artistic director of the Bush suggests that the venue is in safe though not extraordinary hands.

Loosely inspired by the Tempest, How to Curse stars Al Weaver as Nick, a highly intelligent but disturbed young man who is convinced that he has found the spirit of Ariel in Robert Boulter’s streetwise William. Completing the dysfunctional teenage triangle is Emily Beecham’s lively waif Miranda.

Set in a bedsit bestrewn with books - as bestrewn as the play is littered with slightly pompous literary quotes - the production examines unhinged adolescence. Weaver gives a scene-stealing performance as the charmingly naive and passionate Nick, by turns twitchy, vulnerable or lit with fervour. He is well paired with Beecham, who imbues Miranda with a feisty spirit and innocence - they are as engaging in their heated altercations as their eccentric discussions. Much of the spark of the play is generated by their dynamic and the utterly mad world in which they exist.

Despite assured direction and captivating performances, the show is let down by an increasingly lagging pace. Somehow, the play’s resolution is less satisfying than the bizarre universe that Nick and Miranda had created for themselves - that it all boils down to a slightly twisted love story between Nick and William diminishes what had been an intriguing world.

Production information

Bush, London, October 10-November 10

Ian McHugh
Josie Rourke
Bush Theatre
Cast includes:
Emily Beecham, Robert Boulter, Al Weaver
Running time:
1hr 20mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014