Angry Young Man

Adelaide Fringe. Holden Street Theatres. 1 Mar 2013

This show is a total joy.  From the moment you walk into the theatre and see the cast of four young men identically attired in silver grey suits (and tan shoes) sitting rakishly in a huddle on chairs silently greeting the audience, until the final bows when they ask you to spread the word if you enjoyed the show – and that’s what I am doing now!  Go and see it! Angry Young Man is a complete and perfectly enjoyable theatre experience.

The plot is straightforward enough:  an immigrant surgeon makes his way (illegally it seems) to the UK and tries to find work.  He enters into a friendship but allows himself to be seduced by his friend’s girlfriend.  He falls into bad company, is involved in an accidental death of a minor mobster in a nightclub, and runs away into the country side to hide fearing gaol and deportation, but everything turns out well enough in the end.

And it is a comedy. 

And it is played out on a bare stage furnished with only four chairs.

And the four actors are just superb.  Their stage craft is exemplary:  gesture, timing, voice, versatility, mime.  They have it all, and they are wonderfully assisted by Ben Woolf’s expert direction and an uncredited classy lighting design (and execution).  The standout cast member was Iddon Jones whose female impersonation roles were so very funny, and serious.  The guy has presence.  The cast was rounded out with excellent performance by Gabeen Kahn and Paul Shelford, and highly amusing representations of statues and dogs by Andy Peart.

The structure of the play is engaging.  Every actor plays a number of roles, and they also take turns in playing the central character of the immigrant surgeon.  The action moves swiftly from one setting to another and a sense of pace and urgency is created by inventive use of the four chairs (which represent everything from a nightclub bar to an omnibus) and by Woolf’s tight choreographed and synchronised movement of the cast.

This show is highly recommended.  It is funny, but it is also sad at times, and there is also a message in there as well.  But above all, this is fabulous theatrical entertainment.  It doesn’t come much better.

Kym Clayton

When: 2 to 17 Mar
Where: Holden Street Theatres