Tom Wells is master of the adorkable. There’s a lovely, gentle, huggable quality to his plays. And that continues here, although perhaps less potently than in previous work.
Liam is 15 and making a presentation in assembly in order to win the Project Prize – and win back his best friend Caz. He explains how he learned to swim and joined a synchronised swimming team. Actor Andrew Finnigan stands in the middle of the Paines Plough Roundabout in school uniform, at a microphone, with a guitar.
What follows is a sweet but slight musical about friendship and love and pride. It’s full of really wonderful bits – like the audience all donning blue ponchos to represent the pool where Liam is learning to swim – but doesn’t string together brilliantly.
Finnigan’s delivery, deadpan and full of gawky slowdowns and stops, is just a little too casual. For a story in which nothing really happens, there needs to be a snappier pace to distract from the fact that nothing really happens.
Matthew Robins’ songs are particularly good – catchy, meandering ditties played (deliberately?) badly by Finnigan on the guitar – and there’s a nice through-line about owning your awkwardness.