I'm not long back from the Tron and to be honest I'm a little reluctant to write about "The Drawer Boy". I have a horrible feeling that in doing so I'm going to burst a bubble. I really enjoyed it, but I'm pretty fuzzy about why I enjoyed it so much, and if I think about it in detail I'm worried I'll lose the bigger picture. So, before I start, and for the record - this was a wonderful piece of theatre.
With a runtime of two hours writer Michael Healey should by rights be testing how far what is a fairly gentle piece can be stretched - but it never comes close to feeling its length. His tale of a young actor spending time with a pair of farmers in Canada as part of his research for a play is quite simply beautifully told. The comedy is gentle but clever, the relationships between the characters come across as genuine, and the structure works well. Add in some theatrical humour and a farm setting with sufficient authenticity to impress our friendly neighbourhood farmer and theatre blogger and it becomes more than it seems.
And of course the three excellent performances from an impressive cast help add a little something as well. As the young actor Miles, Brian Ferguson brings a subtlety that keeps the audience unsure about the balance of his relationship with the farmers, while Benny Young's Morgan is beautifully deadpan in his dealings with Miles but shows great depth in his relationship with the damaged Angus. But it's Brian Pettifer as Angus whose performance really resonates - impeccable timing and delivery both for comic and emotional impact.
This might not be theatre that's going to change the world and yes, by next week it will probably be a vague memory of having had an enjoyable night at the theatre, but right now it feels like I saw something special tonight.
The Drawer Boy runs at the Tron until 24th May
Image by Douglas Robertson used with permission
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Posted by Statler at 11:45 pm