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The Boys in the Band at Park Theatre – Review

The Boys In The BandThis is a revival of Mart Cowley’s classic play, The Boys in the Band. The play was deemed shocking when it was first performed Off-Broadway in 1968.

Set in a New York apartment which is adorned with portraits of Hollywood greats such as Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe it tells the story of Michael (Ian Hallard) who is busily organising a birthday party for his friend Harold (Mark Gatiss) when he receives an unexpected visit from Donald (Daniel Boys) and a phone call from former college roommate, Alan (John Hopkins) who is in town and would like to pop round. The party starts well with plenty of banter traded amongst the group. The brilliant soundtrack is used to the full including a fun dance (which seemed to be enjoyed by the cast and the audience). Following the arrival of the guest of Harold and Alan, Michael decides it would be “fun” to play a game of emotional Russian roulette…

Well directed by Adam Penford, the play boasts a stellar cast; Ian Hallard gives an excellent performance as the uptight Michael; Hallard is well supported throughout the play by Daniel Boys (Donald) in particular. James Emory is brilliantly camp/waspish as Emory, whilst John Hopkins manages to convey Alan’s confusion/anger on entering the group very well. Jack Derges gives a fun performance as Harold’s “present” from Emory, (Cowboy). Ben Mansfield and Nathan Nolan (bickering couple, Larry and Hank) and Greg Lockett (Bernard) also give good performances and the cast complement each other very well. However, the stand-out performance was from Mark Gatiss (Harold). Gatiss times his delivery perfectly as the sneery/simpering Harold.

4 stars

Review by Karen Pond

Tom O’Connell and James Seabright in association with Jack Maple, King’s Head Theatre and Park Theatre present The Boys In The Band by Mart Crowley

Mark Gatiss stars in the first major revival of this iconic play in almost 20 years. Razor sharp and packed with wit, The Boys in the Band is fresh, startling and brilliantly entertaining.

Nine men gather in a New York apartment for a birthday celebration. Harold (Mark Gatiss) receives a surprise gift from his friend, Emory (James Holmes), in the form of a beautiful male hustler (Jack Derges). Meanwhile, party host Michael (Ian Hallard) gets an unwanted surprise of his own. As the booze is drunk and the dope smoked, the mood swings from hilarity to heartbreak.

From the producers of the acclaimed productions of Beautiful Thing, Our Boys and Another Country, this eagerly anticipated revival stars Olivier Award winner Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Doctor Who, London Spy), Daniel Boys (Avenue Q), Jack Derges (Eastenders, Humans), Ian Hallard (Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time), James Holmes (Miranda, Psychoville), John Hopkins (Midsummer Murders), Greg Lockett and Ben Mansfield (Primeval, Endeavour) and Nathan Nolan (Undercover). The Boys in the Band is directed by Adam Penford whose credits include A Small Family Business (National Theatre) and One Man, Two Guvnors (Revival Director for UK tour, Broadway and West End).

Running time: 2 hours (including interval)

Cast and Creatives
Donald – Daniel Boys
Cowboy – Jack Derges
Harold – Mark Gatiss
Michael – Ian Hallard
Emory – James Holmes
Alan – John Hopkins
Bernard – Greg Lockett
Larry – Ben Mansfield
Hank – Nathan Nolan
Writer – Mart Crowley
Director – Adam Penford
Design – Rebecca Bower
Lighting Design – Jack Weir
Sound Design – James Nicholson

The Boys In The Band
Plays until 30th October 2016
Park Theatre
https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/

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