I once read a very positive review of Mamma Mia! that was written by someone who didn’t personally care for the music of Abba, but still praised the show because they thought it was well-executed and finely performed. There’s an ever so slightly different cost base involved in putting on Sid at the Etcetera Theatre, and while I may not care for the music of The Sex Pistols and other punk rock bands (I care so little I can’t even name any others), this didn’t stop me from being highly impressed with this most engaging performance from Dario Coates as Craig, who seems to be at his best when he’s furiously putting the world to rights.
It’s immersive theatre, but it’s Craig who flits about frenetically (as opposed to the audience being invited to move around the theatre), as though he were on some illegal substance or other. Thus it is more accurately described as ‘in-yer- face’ theatre. But he’s not on drugs, however, just extremely passionate about Sid Vicious – by Craig’s own admission, our Angry Young Man will not entertain any criticisms or negativity about Sid. He then launches into a long list of putdowns of allegedly inferior beings, also passed on before their time: Sid remains an incomparable beacon.
There’s a larger-than- life confidence and assertiveness in Craig that makes him so engaging, even when he is threatening violence against bankers or bragging about his sexual prowess. Nobody in the (albeit small) theatre space is immune from eyeball-to- eyeball contact, and if ‘going on a journey’ is the sort of theatre experience that makes you want to vomit, you’ll have a friend in Craig.
Even John ‘Johnny Rotten’ Lydon is criticised to the hilt in this fast-paced and high-pressured performance, and as for Green Day: Don’t. Even. Go. There. We get to learn an awful lot about Craig’s life story, his girlfriend, his mum, and on and on – but in such a short time – the character development is phenomenal. This play has more details expounded in under an hour than some plays have in three. It’s not often I’m kept on the edge of my seat for very nearly the entire performance.
It’s an outstanding performance from Dario Coates, bringing Leon Fleming’s script to life in this short play that punches above its weight. A gripping and provocative narrative builds to a credible and unclichéd ending, and despite the wall-punching and coarse language, there’s something very lovable and charming about a day in the life of a punk lover who seems to have been born a generation too late.
Review by Chris Omaweng
HERO WORSHIP AND REALITY COLLIDE IN A PUNK ROCK CRASH!
He’s not having a good day. People don’t understand him, his musical tastes are derided, his best mate is a punkrocker who died in the seventies. And his girlfriend thinks he’s lost the plot! Life shouldn’t be this hard, but for Craig nothing seems easy. He’s a loose cannon. A man alone. Almost alone. He’s got a mate. He’s got Sid Vicious.
In this new 50 minute one-man play by Leon Fleming we explore the true nature of hero worship and what it means to be punk.
3 May 2016 – 7 May 2016 at 7:00pm
The Etcetera Theatre
above the Oxford Arms
265 Camden High Street
London NW1 7BU