Do you know what? If nothing else, this play has made me feel like I missed out at being a student.
Ella Hickson’s Boys is an absolute heart-pounding triumph of a play, in my opinion. On the surface, a comedic look at the trials and tribulations of the student lifestyle – of sex, of booze, of drugs – but lurking underneath all that is a bubbling pit of angst that occasionally and tantalizingly shows through, giving us a glimpse of the true turmoil that underpins their existence.
It explores identity, relationships. It questions, ultimately, existence, and what it really means to be here. I defy anyone to see it and not have the opinion that Ella Hickson has created a sublime piece of work here.
The actors were perfectly cast, as one would hope to be the case in any production. Each one of them brought something to the table that I would not have expected from just reading the script, which was a lovely surprise. I particularly felt that Danny Kirrane (Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem at the Royal Court, West End and Broadway) absolutely shone in the role of Benny. I could see the hidden grief underneath the bubbly exterior, and he moved me to tears in the second half.
I was struck by how effective the lighting in this piece was – it offered a kind of ethereal look at the story, only complimenting, never detracting.
There were moments where I felt the music and sound overpowered the actors somewhat. I forgave this on account of the intensity of the story.
I urge everyone to go and see this incredible piece of work. It goes without saying that this is one of the best things I have seen this year. And seriously, guys, you will kick yourself if you miss out.
Performed at the Soho Theatre until the 16th June.