Review: ‘Boys will be Boys’
A chilling tale of a woman in a man’s world
'Boys will be Boys' tells the story of a woman trying to get ahead in a male-dominated corporate world. All of Astrid's (Georgia Vyvyan) natural characteristics are diminished in order to help her to become 'male' for the sake of her success.
Visually the production team did a fantastic job; the dark palette matched the eerie atmosphere which spanned from the costumes to the light and the set design. The only colour came from the lead, Astrid, and this accentuated her sense of 'otherness' in the corporate world. The minimal set and use of props also added to the lack of a sense of belonging. Disappointingly, the music seemed to consist of just two settings: barely audible and deafening. The volume did not seem to match the action onstage at all, and the audience was made to worry constantly about whether the next piece of music would soothe or wound their ears. Since musical effects were used only seldom however, this was not too much of an issue, but it did contribute to what was a highly underwhelming opening sequence.
The most memorable aspect of this performance was the principle cast, who went above and beyond what one would ordinarily expect from student theatre. The character development was easy to follow and the emotional content was conveyed not only in the delivery of lines but also through the micro-management of body language. Two honourable mentions must be given. Firstly, all of the principle cast who played the 'male' roles were totally believable, not just in voice and aesthetic, but also in mannerisms and body language. Their portrayals of men almost verged on caricatures, but nonetheless remained plausible. The other honourable mention must go to Matilda, Astrid's understudy, who stepped in at the last minute and did an exceptional job of holding the show together.
A number of issues prevent a more positive evaluation. A handheld microphone did not match the other excellent directorial decisions, and the scene changes weren't quite as fluid as they could've been. The choreographic elements were refreshing, but those who were involved in them were noticeably out-of-sync at some points. Furthermore, some of the actors were visible while they were offstage, which was slightly distracting.
While these latter points do not take away from the emotional power that this production has, they will remain in the minds of the audience. Overall however, I certainly recommend investing in a ticket!
Boys Will Be Boys is on at the ADC Theatre until Friday 23th February. Tickets are £6-8