Elephant and Castle. 1956. Saturday night.
Teddy and Josie are about to hit the streets of London for a good time. It’s pissing it down, they’re totally skint, and someone wants them dead – but a little trouble never stopped a Ted from having a good time. Desperate times call for rock ‘n’ roll.
Teddy is a punchy, lyrical ride though the dark and damaged world of 1950s London. Expect sex, violence and damn good hair.
Teddy is played by Joseph Prowen and he does an excellent job at it too. His acting is superb, together with comical characterization and excellent timing throughout the whole show. I spent the first few minutes wondering who Prowen reminded me of with his character’s look; it was either of the Kemp brothers from The Krays film (1990). Prowen has a nice voice but it was his dancing that made me smile, typical of the era and Prowen threw himself into it without a care.
Jennifer Kirby played the part of Josie with an absolutely stellar performance. Kirby’s acting ability, especially with her accents, was amazing. When she portrayed other parts during the storytelling they were all different and completely believable. Kirby and Prowen have a great chemistry on stage. The form of storytelling the show takes does make you wonder how the two of them got through without an apparent error. There are times where they take a word or two of a sentence each, working their way through the story, and it is so fast paced I just wanted to applaud at the end of it – I didn’t as it would have ruined the mood set, but I definitely did so internally.
As we went through the show the musical numbers from the 1950s complemented the action on stage. My only criticism is that during some of the songs it was hard to understand the words which lost a little of the impact.
The set is minimalistic. There is a ‘table’ formed by a door over two drums centre stage and a raised platform towards the back of the stage. Set to one side is where Johnny Valentine and the band are set up to play. The use of the set by Kirby and Prowen was great and showed great direction.
The lighting throughout the show was spot on complementing the mood created by the actors and enhancing without being too obvious. The cinema scene was cleverly done which gave the impression that is exactly where they were.
If you get the chance to see Teddy then do so as you won’t be disappointed. It was a pleasure to see two fine young actors take me on a journey back in time.
Review by Lee Cogger
Teddy – Joseph Prowen
Josie – Jennifer Kirby
Johnny Valentine – Will Payne
Buster Watson/Musical Director – Harrison White
Sammy ‘The Sticks’ Smith – Alexander Bean
Jenny O’Malley – Alice Offley
Playwright Tristan Bernays
Music by Dougal Irvine
Director Eleanor Rhode
Musical Director Harrison White
Choreographer Tom Jackson Greaves
Set Designer Max Dorey
Costume Designer Holly Rose Henshaw
Lighting Designer Christopher Nairne
Sound Designer Max Pappenheim
Producers Sarah Loader and Jim Zalles
Teddy is at Southwark Playhouse from 4th to 27th June 2015
Tuesday 9th June 2015