Originally published on The Reviews Hub
Awarded 2 1/2 stars – Beige
“I’m not on my own! I’m stuck in ’ere with a failed burglar!” The relationship between disabled army veteran Moss (Darren Swift) and ‘nephew’ Carter (Daniel Gentely) is anything but smooth. But, despite their constant arguing, it is clear that Carter and Moss are close. So close in fact that both of them are attempting to covet the healthcare assistant Marta (Ida Bonnast), who comes to the council flat once a week. Unfortunately, Carter’s attempts don’t quite go exactly to plan, but Moss is there to pick him back up from the ground. In fact, when Moss (Swift) enters in the last scene of Blue on Blue sporting his two army medals, a feeling of pride swells through the audience. Chips Hardy writes Blue on Blue as a dark comedy that deals with issues of disability, both physical and mental.
The concept here is sound, the script not dissimilar to an 80s TV sitcom (Only Fools and Horses sprang fairly quickly to mind). There are a few lines that seem to be crowbarred in with the aim of producing laughs and these garner a mixed reaction; the funniest moment of the play seems to not be a line at all, but an awkward pause that sets the audience off. But the conversation between the two male actors lacks appropriate pace. The delivery on the whole is stunted, lines are delivered on top of each other and the overall impression is unpolished and unnatural. It isn’t always clear whether the awkward pauses are the result of the actor’s inability to remember their lines or poor directorial decisions made by Harry Burton. Ultimately though, the cause is unimportant as it is the result which falls flat.
The characters themselves are overall well received. As the army veteran, Moss (Swift) is gruff and crass, but his well-concealed love for nephew Carter (Gentely) is endearing and touching. Gentely has two defined levels to his personality – the displayed bravado masks a damaged, nervous and insecure man within; both of these shine through at different points. Marta (Bonnast) gives the best performance – cheerful and a touch naïve, she wears her emotions on her sleeve, while a touch simplistic, the overall effect is easy to interpret.
A play in three well-defined scenes, Blue on Blue paints a dysfunctional family picture that many people can easily relate – no-one has that desired perfect home unit. It may be blue by name, but ultimately the production is beige by nature.
Writer: Chips Hardy
Director: Harry Burton
Reviewer: Daniel Perks
Runs until 14 May 2016 | Image: Gavin Watson