Review: People Like Us, thespace On North Bridge
LONG before the stand-ups and celebrity names discovered the Fringe, Edinburgh buzzed with the hopes and aspirations of young companies from around the UK.
It was the place where dreams were made or broken. Where careers started, not ended. Youth theatres and student companies have been responsible for injecting much of the fun into what the Festival has become today. They still do.
One such company is Savage Theatre, a collection of sixth formers from South London.
Like all the best love stories, People Like Us is a tragedy. Stacey had just come out of a bad relationship. She wasn’t even looking to date, let alone fall in love, until the day she met Simon. He promised never to hurt her...
People Like Us is also a play about HIV. It’s a play of its time, and while the threat from unsafe sex remains, it’s a period piece, with the attitudes displayed feeling very 1980s.
Simon, played by Scott Cocks, lies in his hospital bed throughout. He’s ill. Newly diagnosed HIV+ with complications. Stacey his girlfriend, played by Cherise Sullivan, is by his side. She has problems of her own.
Around these two characters, the emotion builds – the arrival of Simon’s former girlfriend Sharon (a feisty performance from Amel Elgalel) after an absence of three years adds a sinister twist.
Sullivan provides a robust spine to the piece. Strong, understated and natural, she is a star of the future, as is Alex Ash, who gives a turn well beyond her years as Ann, Simon’s actress mother. Ballsy, brutal and brilliantly bitchy, she creates a character without a maternal bone in her body before embarking on a moving journey of self-discovery. Kane Richmond-Nicholls and Kyle Franks add nice touches as the nurses tending Simon.
While all could do with a bit more volume at times, they cope professionally with an often clichéd script. Well worth a look if you want to recapture the real spirit of the Fringe.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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