JACK YATES thinks that good acting doesn’t entirely redeem a lukewarm script in Tory Boyz.
Corpus Playroom, 7 PM, April 29th-May 3rd, £6/5.
Impressive performances from much of the cast of ‘Tory Boyz’ were hamstrung by an inelegant script and pedestrian plot, yet still provided an entertaining couple of hours.
The play meandered through a succession of scenes that share some of the same characters, if little else. The premise that a young, working class, northern, gay Conservative with aspirations to progress from his low ranking Westminster office in some way shares an affinity with Ted Heath is less than convincingly communicated over the course of the production. The two paths barely cross within the play and their relation to one another remained tenuous throughout.
Nor was the play helped by a clunky dialogue, though the interchanges involving Rebecca Cusack and Benedict Hawkins keep it sharp. Indeed this pair provided the performances of the production: Hawkins was convincing as the shuffling work experience unsure of where to put himself, and Cusack as the endearing office gossip. These scenes gave the ‘Tory Boyz’ a light hearted humour which the remainder failed to do, despite the frequent attempts by the script. Though, in all fairness, many of the audience found it more amusing than I did, audibly.
The lack of much appreciable humour would perhaps be understandable if the play were to successfully retain a sense of gravity throughout. Instead it lurches from one issue to another, dealing with barely any as potential for profundity too often descends into a shallow, superficial treatment. These include the issues of sexuality and class in politics, the distinction between ‘left’ and ‘right’, and twice a hint at relationships between a teacher and pupil. None of these was dealt with satisfactorily with the second patronisingly treated politics as dichotomic, whilst the last of these was seemingly no more than a cursory, if inexplicable, nod to the History Boys.
All of this was fleshed out by an uninspiring plot that reached a conclusion which although I would refrain from calling obvious, would suggest that there are as-of-yet undiscovered tribes who could have guessed as much. In spite of these disappointments the play was very professionally conducted with slick changes of scene, effective music and on balance impressive performances from the cast.
Despite these significant achievements ‘Tory Boyz’ appears unsure as to whether to be a gritty piece about serious issues, or a comedy to make light of them and ultimately manages neither.