Philip Ridley’s six very different monologues allow for powerful performances from Georgie Henley and Tyrone Huntley – but don’t seem to sit well beside each other.
By turns, each of Philip Ridley’s six monologues put together here are angry, passionate and ultimately heart wrenching in terms of the range of subjects they cover, wrapped in two electrifying performances from Georgie Henley and Tyrone Huntley.
In a sense, Angry is very difficult to review: there is no one straight plot line to follow and each subject is tackled in such a different way that as intense and engaging as Max Lindsay’s production is it is also overwhelming to keep up with.
On the evening in which I saw it, it was version two of the show in which he follows her, meaning that Georgie Henley got the show off to an explosive start, virtually yelling in audience members faces in the show’s title monologue ‘Angry’. It is a piece of writing that covered with resentment and frustration, magnificently performed by Henley who captures the immense anger felt by millennials with power but also ultimately with a sense of vulnerability that is mesmerising to watch.
Other monologues such as ‘Okay’, ‘Dancing’ and ‘Air’ are equally powerful and clearly written with perspective, making you feel the full impact of the issues of which they cover and the strength of conviction in which they have been written. ‘Air’ in particular is one of the strongest pieces written by Ridley – a story of refugees told from a modern world perspective that finishes the show in a quiet and reflective manner that is haunts the audience as they leave the theatre.
Ridley’s writing however, is not wholly serious and there are some nice touches of humour that are brought out by Huntley and Henley in an understated way that still makes them stand out. His writing is creative and filled with rich ideas that engages the audiences attention.
However, there are times when Ridley tends to meander and that is when the show begins to lose its intensity and focus. This is particularly seen in the monologue ‘Now’ – it feels as though it lacks direction and doesn’t quite sit well with the other monologues.
The other problem with the show as a whole is while each monologue is told from the perspective of six different characters with incredible stories to tell it feels as though they don’t sit side-by-side together well, leaving the production feeling disjointed. At times it also feels that Ridley hasn’t finished with the stories such as those told in ‘Bloodshot’ or ‘Dancing’ – leaving the audience wanting more.
But on the flip side to this, director Max Lindsay has managed to draw out stunning performances from his cast. Georgie Henley is by turns passionate, intense and charming – the audience feels completely how raw all of her performances are with a touch of vulnerability that allows her to engage with the audience effectively and is mesmerising to watch. In contrast to this, Tyrone Huntley is lively and energetic throughout, his charisma shining through his performance of ‘Dancing’ while his depth of understanding and complete engagement with the story in ‘Air’ is suitably heart wrenching to watch.
Overall, the monologues themselves have plenty to offer and bound together by the performances of Henley and Huntley are electrifying to watch. But the production itself could use a little more flow and structure about it to make it feel less fragmented.
Angry continues to play at the Southwark Playhouse until the 10th March. For more information and to book tickets visit: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/angry/#details