Will Power, 1 Star

Will Power
19th to 22nd Feb 2017
Theatre N16

“Toby Boutall’s debut play, centred on masculinity stigmas and male mental health, heads to Theatre N16 for an exclusive 4 performances. In the piece, the audience meet Will, a follow a day in his life – but how will it end? Tackling the thorny issue of the ever-rising male suicide, this new dark comedy examines the way men treat themselves (and each other) in the 21st century.

We are all trying to find that little ounce of joy that makes you want to wake up the next day. Whether that is going home to a beautiful family and eating a Chinese takeaway, or whether that is meeting friends for one drink which ends up being nine vodka-cokes, one mixed kebab and an overpriced taxi to Jennifer’s as she has a hot tub and a dancemat”.

Review by Richard Lambert, 1 Star

Interesting to find an empty bath tub centre stage. The Set is the bath tub, a wall-mounted bathroom basin, a laundry basket, bath mat and several sponges. It’s never made clear why the show is set in the bathroom. However, bath sponges become steering wheels when you drive to work, or mobile phones and keyboards when you’re at work. All of  which has the unfortunate effect of making what should be serious subject matter feel like a student union amateur production.

The cast are dressed in black T shirts, except the lead male who’s in black boxers, socks and a bath robe. His final scene, not to give away any spoilers, involves him removing his bathrobe and socks to get into the empty bath. Keeping his boxers on. Not exactly dramatic or “exposing” in either the literal or matephorical sense.

We’re treated to bubbles (as in blowing bubbles from a childrens tub of bubble mix), a long dance with an audience member, and a head-banging scene (unfortunately that isn’t an euphemism). None of which really had any emotional punch.

And then there’s the Sound Tracks. They didn’t start or stop on Cue. When they did Start the Volume was wrong. Under-scores drowned out actors who had to shout to be heard. Musical moments came on from nowhere and for no reason but would then be referenced by the Cast like some dreamy Tennessee Williams plot. Two of the Cast actually went to help the technician during the show – multiple finger jabbing at what must have been an iPad or similar didn’t seem to help. Quite a technical mess! There are professional solutions out there – QLab, Arkaos, even Power Point and iTunes can have a spacebar tap that’s precise and reliable.

The Cast didn’t return for a curtain call leaving the audience asking if the play had ended.
Thankfully the venue technician told us that it had so we left.

And I can’t find a Cast List to publish.

A bubble machine was blowing bubbles on the audience as they make their way down the stairs to leave at the end of the evening which does not seem to have any relevance to the Play’s identity.

The show is 35 minutes long.

Playwright
Toby Boutall
Performance Dates
February 19th 2017 – February 22nd 2017, 7.30pm

Venue
Theatre N16, The Bedford Pub, 77 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9HD

Ticket Price
£10 (£8 concessions)

Box Office
Ticketsource (theatren16.co.uk/will-power)

Travel
Balham station (2 min walk)
Streatham Hill station (20 min walk)

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