theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53)
It is set in an English boarding school as Parliament discusses the legalisation of homosexuality, and all the adults are overtly comedic characters while the boys are portrayed as mostly serious dramatic characters wrestling with their buried passions.
It’s initially quite jarring to have David Crabtree’s blazingly camp Reverend sharing the same stage with younger actors convincingly struggling with their nascent sexuality. It doesn’t always work as the love affair between two boys (well played by Joe Bence and Joshua Oakes-Rogers) sits uneasily alongside the buffoonish authority figures’ attempts to “purge” the school of “beastliness”.
The two storylines and styles grind against each other – noisily at first – but eventually settle into an uneasy rhythm. While Anderson’s film ended in armed revolution and death, this ends in a play-within-a-play that serves much the same purpose: an explosion of the id and the revenge of the repressed. It’s an engaging and frequently quite funny production rather than a complete success but its bold approach to the material is consistently interesting.
Until 26 August. Today 6:05pm.