The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid – Review

SAMANTHA BENSON was pretty impressed by this Corpus Playroom production

authentic life of billy the kid Bawds Cambridge review Tab Theatre

Corpus Playroom 13th January – Saturday 17th January 2015. 7.45pm £8/£6

As both my first theatre review and my first time at the Corpus Playroom, I cannot say I was disappointed.

Directing Cambridge-based company ‘Bawds’, in their production of ‘The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid’Nick Warbuton’s work was gripping and emotional, with the perfect amount of humour.

The stage is beautifully set and audience members commented at the realism of the design and the painting of the backdrop. Technical aspects, such as the red light used for the ‘fire’ onstage, were simple yet effective.

The entire cast deserve credit. Colin Lawrence gave a beautiful portrayal of Pat Garett, with just the right amount of sadness and anger to the character, Barry Brown (Ash Upson) not only made us laugh, but displayed an energy and presence which reminded me of Christopher Lloyd in the Back to the Future trilogy. David Foyle’s drunken Billy was believable throughout, and the entrance of Julian Cooper as Jim Miller added humour, sincerity and mystery to the play.

Billy the Kid - bringing Western Legend to the Corpus Playroom

Billy the Kid – bringing Western Legend to the Corpus Playroom

As the play started, I was anxious. I had never taken an interest in Westerns or Western legend, but the characters and the story soon grew on me. Lawrence’s emotional journey was gripping to say the least and the relationship between him and Brown did not feel forced, but easy like that of lifelong friends.

Warburton’s direction is excellent; nothing is ever too angry, too sincere or too funny. A four-man, one room drama could easily be slow, and the start of the play dragged a little. Thankfully, this did resolve, and the tension between Lawrence and Foyle increasingly kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

Despite a rather niche subject matter, the show was executed beautifully and with great talent. I would urge anyone with an interest in Western Legends to see it, not to mention anyone searching for a gripping, moving, and slightly comical drama.

I look forward to the Bawds’ next production.

71%, First