The Star Inn on Guildford’s historic Quarry Street is the venue for a two man play called, ‘Concrete Boots’. The beautiful architecturally interesting Inn is an interesting choice and, as it happened, a very fitting place for this intimately powerful drama.
The back room at the Star has been converted into a small theatre seating approximately fifty or so guests. In all my forays into Guildford I never knew it even existed – but I do now and I’ll be keeping an eye on what’s playing there. If the standard of production is anything like Concrete Boots it will be worth the trip.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an opening quite like that which confronted me this evening. The two men were standing in buckets with their lower limbs encased in concrete. As they look over the audience you begin to understand their predicament, they are stranded on a beach and the tide is coming in. There seems to be no escape and death is imminent. The men don’t seem to be overly concerned and you’re convinced, like them, that rescue will surely come. Such is the light-hearted banter between the two that you become convinced that their predicament must be the result of some strange drunken stupidity and laugh accordingly. However as the dialogue unwinds you realise that this is a sinister case of double homicide and that the men are in denial about their impending doom. As the play develops you are taken in flashbacks into the men’s past and slowly you begin to understand the full story of these two hapless brothers.
Concrete Boots plays with the emotions constantly. One minute challenging you with some powerful imagery, the next causing you to chuckle or question. This is a play that has both depth and breadth. The audience is held entranced from the beginning by the superb acting skills of Steven Arnold (Cubby) and Spencer Cummins (Toby) who did full justice to the complex and clever script written by Stuart Price. The ending, when it came, was a complete surprise and very apt. I won’t spoil it for you now – you’ll just have to go and see for yourself, you won’t be disappointed. Those around me that evening were all in agreement that it had been a great evening’s entertainment. It’s going to be a short run at The Star Inn so don’t delay buying your tickets although I suspect that this is a play that could tour quite easily and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s taken up by another venue. Concrete Boots is part of the Guildford Fringe season. A quick looks at their website www.guildfordfringe.com reveals a number of interesting shows covering a wide range of interests. If this is the standard of performance we can expect I’ll certainly be looking at some of the other offerings.
Review by Liz Lickiss
Steven Arnold, known to many as beleaguered Coronation Street butcher Ashley Peacock, will join Guildford Fringe regular Spencer Cummins and appear in Guildford Fringe Theatre Company’s production of Concrete Boots at the end of January for just 10 performances.
A tragic comedy, it follows the lives of brothers Cubby and Toby as they struggle to escape from certain death after a revenge attack by local gangsters sees them kidnapped and up to their necks in trouble. As the pair reflect on the events that led to their life-threatening situation, the question is: have their childish and selfish ways finally placed them in a position from which they cannot escape?
Concrete Boots by Stuart Price
28th January – 7th February at 8pm
The Back Room of The Star Inn, Quarry Street, Guildford, GU1 3TY.
Concrete Boots is sponsored by Churchmill Accountants and Business Advisers.
Saturday 31st January 2015