“....a powerful, entertaining piece"

Why on earth would you name a play as good as this Bacon?!  I guess to keep the play a secret, however this work certainly does not deserve to be.

Bacon is a two-man-play written by Sophie Swithinbank that reveals how the lives of two school boys, Mark and Darren, become precariously balanced and intertwined from year 10 until its resolve four years later, or is it?  Mark takes the lead – this is his story, or is it?

Director Matthew Iliffe and set designer Natalie Johnson build on the metaphor by balancing the whole performance on and around huge seesaw that fills the stage.

Mark is played by Corey Montague-Sholay and Darren by William Robinson – within minutes of this 75-minute play we soon see why both have won awards for their performances in this work. Before our eyes we see Mark transform into a young brainy school kid, Mark’s mum gives him everything and yet as he starts at a new school he has nothing.  He has all the brains and no friends.  Suddenly Darren appears – he’s a rebel, seemingly rebelling against everything and everyone, but unaware of what he is really rebelling against – himself and his repressed sexuality and his repressed grief. Darren takes everything he can get – and yet he too has nothing.  Soon their lives are in balance as they start to hang around together.

Throughout the play it’s hard to know who is top-dog.  At so many moments in the story, the balance changes.  Cocky Mark tells Darren he should consider himself lucky to be talking to him but as the balance once again shifts we see how lucky Darren is to have Mark as a friend.

The play depicts the problems of young men’s mental health, sexual violence, as well as the complexities of bereavement and family abuse.  This said it should not be avoided because it is such a powerful, entertaining piece.

If you want to see an amazingly crafted play – go see Bacon.  If you care about young men growing up with conflicting emotions – go see Bacon.  If you have a heart – go see Bacon.

Put it simply it’s time to wake up and smell the Bacon – go see this play!

This show was reviewed on the 25th July 2023.  Bacon runs at the Riverside Studios, London until the 29th July 2023.  Tickets available here: Bacon | Riverside Studios

Review written by Paul Wood & Ian Worsfold


Photo credit: Ali Wright

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