Pros: Gary Owen’s witty script and the actors’ fine performances.
Cons: Depiction of the women in the play as universally Machiavellian and abusive.
Structured into three monologues, Gary Owen’s Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco tell us three very different stories about three very damaged men. Gary (Tomos Vaughan-Williams) is the violent and insensitive bully who falls in love with an unconventional beauty (“German porn more than Scandinavian porn”) during someone’s party. Next comes Matthew D Melody (Harrison Rose), a miserable and geeky man with not much luck in life but with a strong faith in God and a passion for love music hits. Last but not least is Russell Markham (Sam Jones), a repressed and pathetic man looking for some kind of freedom. The three of them, bully and bullied, are proper damaged goods.
A misogynistic tinge permeates the play. The physically absent but nonetheless very present female characters shine with Machiavellian and abusive traits which, if not entirely, are at least in part the cause of the protagonists’ misfortunes. Whether it is Russell’s emotionally manipulative girlfriend, Matthew’s nasty Job Centre officer or Gary’s lightweight crush, they are portrayed as being little deserving of our empathy. In fact we are rather moved to point an accusatory finger towards those cruel characters that mercilessly suck our protagonists’ souls. This looks to me like the cheap revenge of a masculinity in crisis, which desperately blames the opposite sex and the rise in the feminist movement for its own misfortunes.
Two hours of monologues might make for quite a long show, but in this case there’s nothing to worry about. Gary Owen, who wrote the play in 2001, masters the use of the pen and even if a tad too long, the play maintains its drama and keeps our attention focused until the very last moment, where we finally learn the connection between the three characters. The production features three fantastic actors who offer credible and engaging performances. Although Tomos Vaughan-Williams could fool us with his kind face, his hooligan impersonation is truly entertaining if too gentle at times. I think it’s obvious that Gary’s sexist and offensive comments are meant to be laughed at rather than laughed along with. Harrison Rose and Sam Jones are genuine and intriguing with their portrayals of geeky Matthew and meek Russell. There’s a unique and distinctive voice for each of the three characters, achieved both through Owen’s writing and the actors’ performances.
Don’t be misled by Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco colourful programme. Despite its Adventure Time-like illustrations and the many hilarious moments in the play, these are some serious stories about three troubled men.
Author: Gary Owen
Director: Or Benezra-Segal
Producer: EFG Productions
Box Office: 020 7737 3419
Booking Link: https://www.landorspace.com/mobile-disco
Booking Until: 31 March 2018