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5-star SID at Above The Arts Theatre

Sid, Above the Arts Theatre
Sid, Above the Arts Theatre (c) Roy Tan

SID at Above The Arts, grabs you by the throat and holds you mesmerised for 50 minutes, with a tremendous ‘tour de force’ solo performance by Dario Coates. Knowing little about punk I was a tad trepidatious beforehand, yet within 30 seconds the sheer blazing energy and intensity of Coates had me completely and utterly gripped.

Rather than being a play FOR Punks, this is a play that should be seen by everyone who knows nothing whatsoever about punk, is scared of punk, contemptuous, ambivalent or simply bemused about punk. It should also be required viewing by all angry young men, their parents, friends and enemies; a roller-coaster glimpse into the heart, mind and soul of a disaffected young man struggling to find an identity in a world he doesn’t fit in…

SID is an extraordinary piece of passionate theatre with Coates playing an ordinary young man deeply frustrated by his lot in life. In Sid Vicious and Punk he finds the meaning of life, his ‘rasison d’etre’ and his soul. Despite the deep anger and hurt, Coates makes his character Craig genuinely sympathetic and at times, surprisingly endearing. (Pretty sure Sid would be surprised about that!)

The play isn’t actually about Sid Vicious, but rather how Craig finds salvation through Sid, trying to channel Sid and immerse himself IN Sid to give him purpose and meaning in life. Angry, isolated young men are prone to latching onto causes and figureheads be they terrorists or punk rockers. Being Sid is a lot ‘safer’ than a whole lot of things including staying yourself.

Young playwright Leon Fleming is to be commended for such brilliant, sharp writing. Focused, nuanced, witty, raw, poignant, laugh-out- loud-funny, rueful and angry, Craig is multi-faceted and complicated as well as being simple and straight forward guy. Not simply a loser who didn’t get to uni. Who wanted to live in a squat but didn’t actually know anyone who lived in a squat so couldn’t do that. Craig’s girlfriend frustrations, in every sense of the word, are hilarious as well as sad, as are his observations of self-satisfied, smug students. Coates’ ability to create characters in his life story who are physically not there is astonishing – we see and hear every one of them in rich and glorious detail, from despised mother to girlfriend, to ‘poncy,’ over-indulged, upper class students who dare to diss punk to their and his peril.

Although Craig reveals his extreme anger both physically and vocally, at no point is Coates anything other than supremely focused, and disciplined. SID is worth seeing for Coates’ 50 minute monologue masterclass in acting alone.

Fleming has previously worked with Director Scott L Crass on his plays ‘125: The Man on the Clapham Omnibus’ ‘Ode to Sid’ and ‘Kicked in the Shitter’ and this revised production of SID continues their successful and inspired working partnership. There is so much detail and nuance in Coates’ tremendous performance, enabled by Fleming’s strong, descriptive writing and Le Crass’s sensitive and brave direction, particularly in ‘breaking the fourth wall’, brilliantly done by Coates. Anger is balanced by wit, humour and ridiculousness, and sometimes profound refection.

Andrea Leoncini’s bold production choice in SID deserves to be widely seen. Whether young or old, the play resonates across age range, regardless of whether they have any clue about Sid Vicious or not! Two young women behind me had never even heard of Sid Vicious but were utterly transfixed, as were an older couple re-visiting their anarchic punk youth. It is a tribute to actor, writer and director that a play that would seem to have a niche audience, actually speaks to a very much wider demographic. Dario Coates performance powerfully bursts Leon Fleming’s acerbic, witty script into blazing punk life – SID is a masterpiece must-see play.

5 Star Rating

Review by Catherine Françoise

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.
PUNK CAN’T DIE!

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. It’s a tale about being young and not knowing what your place in the world is.
It’s the story of a young man who uses punk music and his love for long dead Sex Pistols’ bassist Sid Vicious as his way of attempting to connect with the world. It’s about feeling different. It’s about being a little bit lost. It’s about not knowing who you are. It’s about not knowing where you fit. It’s about parenting, and class, and hero worship, and what it means to be punk. And it does it with humour, while pulling no punches and going straight for the jugular.

Starring : Dario Coates
Playwright : Leon Fleming
Director : Scott Le Crass
Producer : Andrea Leoncini

ARTS THEATRE
GREAT NEWPORT STREET
LONDON, WC2H 7JB
Sid – Booking until  8th October 2016
https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk/

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