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Beautiful Thing review at Sound Theatre London

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Jonathan Harvey’s tale of love blossoming between two teenage boys in a Thamesmead council block still retains all the humour and emotional clarity that it did when the original opened over a decade ago.

It was interesting to see if after all this time the play appears as a theatrical whimsy or has any true resonance in today’s theatres. Fortunately great writing stands the test of time and aside from a few of the references being updated slightly the story still has resonance and the voices are still true.

Naomi Bentley as Leah is wonderful, bristling with sass and yet at the same time oozing a vulnerability that can easily be lost in this noisy, role. Andrew Garfield as the shy, slightly geeky Jamie and Gavin Broker as handsome, popular Ste work beautifully together. Their scenes together are poignant and often amusing and the two handle the rollercoaster of emotions facing each character as seasoned professionals. Leo Bill seems a little unsettled at first but gradually weaves his way into the piece to create a fine ensemble cast. Sophie Stanton is outstanding as Jamie’s beleaguered single-Mother Courage, Sandra. This highly talented actress dominates the stage simply with her personality and the emotional journey her character travels balances and grounds the play. This play is just as much about her struggle, her problems as it is about any other issue.

Toby Frow’s slick direction keeps the action moving and Ben Stone’s brilliant set perfectly recreate the virtual claustrophobia of life in a council block.

Production Information

Sound Theatre, London, 10 January-11 February

Jonathan Harvey
Toby Frow
Neil Laidlaw for NML Productions
Naomi Bentley, Leo Bill, Gavin Brocker, Andrew Garfield, Sophie Stanton
Running time
2hrs 20mins

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