Friday, 14 August 2009

Fringe Review: Johnny Meister + the Stitch #edfringe

The Spaces @ The Royal College of Surgeons 20:35

This is a fast, frenetic drama carried out as two monologues by the young stars John Travers as Johnny Meister and Brain Markey as David 'Stitch' Brown. That someone can bring together the humour, pathos and poetry of a Belfast brogue in a mark of the genius of Rosemary Jenkinson the writer, and the two young stars are able to hold the audience draw them in (even those for which the slang is not native) and excite and lead them on a emotive journey. To do that in isolation for most of the hour is true greatness in the writing and brilliance of the acting.

The world these two bad lads inhabit is a little mixed up to say the least there are drugs, underage sex, sex with MILFs, fights and drink. But despite wanting to stay out of each others paths they are inextricably linked in so many ways. Their lives are brutal, yet both want to be a father. There is an amazing amount of poetry through the play, couplets of fierce Belfast tones, the street talk of the fighters on the streets. The hoola hoops* they encounter, the tatty crisps. young lads going on the tare.

The stars move the show along both physically by their movement around the stage at the end they were both dripping sweat having given it their all. You are drawn into their world through their language (no doubt the Americans would want to subtitle it). By letting us inhabit their space, learning of the conversations they have, what makes them tick, what riles them, what burns them up, the audience is taken on a roller coaster so luxuriant that the end, though you see it coming, still hits you by surprise; while doing the same to the characters both figuratively and narratively.

This show is only on for the week so the last night is tomorrow, but if you see the show or the Jigsaw company in anything, anytime give it a try. It deserved a bigger audience than it got tonight, but you would never have told that from the standard of the acting. They could have been filling the Waterfront Hall with all the gusto they give their performance, indeed with this show they deserve to fill the Waterfront in Belfast many times over.

This blog hasn't been giving stars put it it did I'd need a few constellations for Johnny Meister and the Stitch.

*Celtic fans

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