Night and Daze
Philip Stokes’ latest play is an hour-long monologue of sweaty intensity, a coming of age tale of sorts set in a nightclub. Lee Bainbridge plays Mark ‘Sheffy’ Sheffield, something of a lad, as he repeatedly informs us, and a beer-fuelled philosopher to boot, given to long verbal volleys about the callousness of the current government and the inanity of Twitter culture. Out on the town, with a pint in his hand and one eye on the blonde girl in the All Saints jacket, his night becomes increasingly eventful.
Written in verse, Night and Daze is unrelenting, but not in a good way. Bainbridge is in control of the material but his style of delivery, all swagger, shouting and gurning, is off-putting. Ella Daley plays both Sheffy’s angel as well as all the other clubbers but she’s a wordless presence, pirouetting around him, like a kind of Pan’s People escapee.
The writing throws up the occasional interesting image but it has a coarseness of tone and there’s an ugly edge to the way it depicts women, very literally as angels and whores. Ultimately the whole thing feels like an excuse for Stokes to air his opinions on politics and the failings of modern life rather than a play with a story to tell.