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Will new casting create a Tenderer Napalm?

Confess that one of the reasons for booking to see Tender Napalm at the Southwark Playhouse when it is revived in the summer was the chance to see Jack Gordon (who looks like a young Clive Owen) in the white vest again. But then I found out that it has a new cast and again, a confession, my immediate reaction was a little disappointment.

Tender Napalm is a very physical play. Gordon and Vinette Robinson ran around the oblong shaped stage, filling it despite being only two in number. It felt muscular, solid, strong as well as tender. Funny that.

FileTom Byam Shaw is playing the Man this time around and the last part I saw him take on was Ariel in The Tempest opposite Ralph Fiennes' Prospero. He played Ariel brilliantly (pictured right). There was a delicacy and gracefulness to his form. Add in the make up and hair and there was a femininity. It is this image that was in my head which added to my initial reaction to hearing he'd been cast in Tender Napalm - will the play work with, well, less muscle I suppose?

But now I've got over the Gordon/vest disappointment, I'm curious in the same way I'm curious about seeing what a younger actor playing Richard (Jonjo O'Neill at Stratford) in Richard III does for the play.

By nature we are drawn to the familiar and yes I'd like to see the Tender Napalm that so wowed me again but I'm looking forward to be wowed, but in a different way, all over again.