I’m no stranger to one-person shows. They’re tough, tough to perform, tough to write and, if not handled well, tough to watch. Thankfully, Working Progress’ second outing at the 24:7 Theatre Festival is slickly performed, skilfully written and a wonder to watch.
Kyle (Rob Ward) is not afraid of telling us he’s a gay, male prostitute. And he’s a footie fan, a very passionate footie fan, and when his pimp phones asking him to meet a client on a Saturday night – sacred Saturday, reserved for football and beer with the mates – he almost says no…until he hears for how much.
When he arrives at the plush hotel, he’s soon involved in a very secret and very passionate affair with a famous footballer which is not really a big deal for him. The big deal is it’s a player for the opposition. What a way to tantalise an audience and from here the play just gets better and better.
The script is passionate, moving and sexy. It should be. Co-written by Ward and veteran TV, radio and theatre writer/director, Martin Jameson, any flab there might have been has been trimmed and worked as hard as Ward in the role of Kyle.
Ward’s performance is a revelation. Seen last year in 24:7’s Loaded, his acting chops have come on in strides. Playing multi-characters as he relives the moment his life changed forever and for the better, it’s a dizzying spectacle and deserves every award this year. What could have been sensationalised, trivialised and full of tricks is instead a multi-dimensional, thoughtful account.
With support from Kick it Out – which aims to stamp out prejudice in sports – it deserves a wider audience who may benefit and learn from watching this striking (excuse the pun) story and, with the recent news that Lib Dem MP John Leech has fought back and responded to a football fan who wrote to him to complain that “You and your ilk are talking to kids saying men marrying men is normal. What next, paedophilia?”, it’s about time prejudice on the stands ends.
I’m not the least bit interested in football but Away From Home almost made a football fan out of me. Almost.
Review by Lucia Cox
Read Lucia’s interview with Away from Home’s co-writers here
Where: New Century House, Manchester
When: until July 25, 2013
More info: www.247theatrefestival.co.uk/shows/