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Sid review at Above the Arts Theatre, London – ‘intense acting’

Dario Coates in Sid at Above the Arts, London. Photo: Roy Tan
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Sid, a one-man show by Leon Fleming, is performed with an impressive burst of nervous energy by actor Dario Coates.

He plays Craig, a teenage punk hemmed in by the confines of his bedroom and his mum. He doesn’t think much of Green Day – which is amusing since American Idiot is playing in the theatre downstairs – and calls them “easy listening”. It’s the Sex Pistols who do it for him, particularly the band’s bassist Sid Vicious, and when he talks about the legendary punk, Coates’ performance shines.

He stalks and jumps across the stage, roars offstage at his mum, jabs a finger at the knee of someone in the front row and twitches at imagined provocations from the audience. Before the performance is over almost every piece of furniture will have been overturned or thrown across the room.

This young hero worshipper consciously pushes aside Sid’s probable murder of girlfriend Nancy Spungen to focus on the immortality of punk’s rebellion. Similarly, Fleming’s text includes harsh home truths about Craig’s own life underneath the stuttering layers of self-justification and attitude.

The play has a surface – like punk itself – and director Scott le Crass finds in it the cracks and fissures through which to reveal Craig’s vulnerability, exposing the self doubt that fuels his anger at posh students and his disregard of the women in his life. When Coates finally stops bounding around the wreck of his own bedroom, and is stripped of his hero’s bravado, what remains is a boy palpably hungry for human connection.

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Nervy, intense acting enhances a solo show about punk heroes and teenage frustration