Pros: An entertaining, funny and light-hearted script delivered by an excellent cast.
Cons: None to speak of!
This is the story of Mitch who is down on his luck and looking for somewhere to live. Mitch’s tale is mixed in with those of the daily life of every day folk (well, four of them anyway) in Fried Meat Ridge Road which, apparently, is a real place in West Virginia.
The usual configuration for Studio 2 has been changed, all of the seats being at one end for this production. The wood-clad walls extend all the way to the back rows, drawing the audience into a run-down motel room which is complete with kitchenette, brown patterned 70s style curtains and empty Mountain Dew cans. The local radio station is playing while you wait for the start of the play, and you have the opportunity to contemplate the fine art on the walls.
The cast is first rate. Kind hearted, delusional but harmless JD is played by Keith Stevenson. who also wrote the piece. Stevenson is surprisingly flexible and quick on his feet – you will see what I mean about three quarters of the way through. Michael Wade plays the non-politically correct and slightly creepy landlord to perfection, having a good line in insults and casual bigotry. Alex Ferns and Melanie Gray are also excellent as the trailer trash couple from the next room who have ‘artistic’ temperaments. Robert Moloney as Mitch is plunged into the middle of this lot having answered a flat share ad. In the lull at the end of this allegedly run-of-the-mill day, he has to decide if he wants to stay or go. There are lots of clues littered about that hint at the ending, so keep an ear out and see how quickly you guess it.
The laugh out loud moments are regular and plentiful (and over 90% of the audience did laugh out loud) supplemented by continuous smiles and giggles. With a running time of just over an hour it is difficult to say more without giving too much away. Being short, the over the top caricatures are still funny at the end and kind of likeable, strangely. The writing, directing, acting and set design all come together perfectly. Do not go to this expecting a deep navel gazing experience: it is an entertaining, funny, feel-good show. An excellent way to spend an hour before (or after) a visit to the pub.
Author: Keith Stevenson
Director: Harry Burton
Producer: Wildcard Theatre
Box Office: 0844 871 7632
Booking Link: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/out-there-on-fried-meat-ridge-road/trafalgar-studios/
Booking Until: 3 June 2017