REVIEW: Boom Bang-A-Bang, Above the Stag Theatre

Jonathan Harvey’s delightfully funny comedy exploring relationships and how quickly they can disintegrate is sharply brought to life in this engaging production.

Filled with sharply witty dialogue, quirky characters and plenty of fun along the way, Jonathan Harvey’s comedy has plenty to recommend it as chaos ensues at a house party.

Lee is hosting his first Eurovision party since the death of his partner Michael and is worried about everyone getting along or even simply turning up. But while the aim is for him and his friends to watch the drama that is Eurovision on television, soon relationships and personalities are dissected , causing plenty of drama away from the television.

Directed by Andrew Beckett, this is a production that ensures the crispness of the dialogue between characters is delightfully funny, while ensuring that the characters despite their flaws remain likeable and endearing in their own ways.

This is of course also down to the brilliant way in which the cast bring the quirky characters to life. Joshua Coley as Norman is a real highlight – delightfully creepy but hilariously funny at the same time in the way he just pops up unexpectedly (and usually at the wrong time!). Meanwhile, Tori Hargreaves delivers a wonderfully grounded performance as Wendi, while Florence Odumoso as Tania is bold and brash but towards the end shows a glimmer of the character’s vulnerability despite her harsh words towards others.

Sean Huddlestan is also a real joy to watch as Roy – an endearing but vulnerable character who freely admits he always puts his foot in it. He also has a hilarious sequence involving a cigarette and unwittingly witnessing an unexpected event that leads to later chaos that proves to be a real highlight of the production. Christopher Lane is wonderfully sharp as Steph who can never resist stirring things between characters both seen and those who we never meet, while John Hogg and Adam McCoy capture the bond between their characters Nick and Lee beautifully.

The entire cast work well together to highlight the comedy but also the more reflective moments in the show that are surprisingly touching, capturing each of the character’s own vulnerabilities to great effect.

Despite at times trying too hard to constantly make the audience laugh, with the help of Andrew Beckett’s cosy set design the whole show delivers plenty of warmth and affection for each of the characters and the situations that they find themselves in throughout the play.

Overall, Boom Bang-A-Bang is a wonderfully warm and affectionate play that is given a strong and immensely funny production thanks to Andrew Beckett.

By Emma Clarendon

Boom Bang-A-Bang continues to play at Above the Stage until the 9th June.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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