Boys will be boys in Ella Hickson's latest to have an outing in London. Or not, as the case may be. Yes their student flat is an homage to the female form and Bacchus and there is a certain amount of infidelity and drug-taking, hiding on top of the fridge freezer and eating bowls of coco pops with a 4ft spoon but underneath it all there is something more interesting going on.
Benny (Danny Kirrane) has just got a first but wants answers about a tragic event, Timp (Tom Mothersdale), the non-student, is just about living from one party to the next, Cam (Lorn Macdonald) is on the cusp of an illustrious classical music career but his nerves might just nip that in the bud and Mack (Samuel Edward Cook) can only think about himself right now.
Throw in Timps' girlfriend Laura (Alison O'Donnell) who wants to settle down and Sophie (Eve Ponsonby), Benny's brother's ex and you have a melting pot of emotions, expectations and regrets.
Can someone please explain to me - why when you two are sitting there having just polished off four year a studying with shiny old marks and you - (points to Cam) are about to get your tiny magical musical arse kissed by half the world and we are going to have a blinding fucking knees-up - I am the only one that is having a lovely old time?
It's interesting that it is the second play I've seen this month that has looked at the future faced by the younger generations in the context of the current economic crisis. In Mike Bartlett's Love Love Love at the Royal Court we saw the disparity between careers and financial gain of the 60s generation compared to their children's. In Boys there is a despondency about the lack of jobs and opportunities and whether an individual can actually make a difference.
There is also something emotionally resonant about how the group respond to this important juncture of their lives, throwing off the security blanket of university life and going out into the big, wide world.
At times Boys is riotously entertaining but at it's heart it is desperately sad and very well observed.
Robert Icke's direction is superb, not least for the physically complex scenes of partying - good at organised chaos must surely feature on his CV. And the young cast is extremely accomplished. Tom Mothersdale and Danny Kirrane should get special mention.
I'm going to give it five stars. Boys runs at the Soho Theatre until June 16. It's unallocated seating but be warned if you are sitting on the front two rows you are very close to the action in one particular scene. In fact it would be rich pickings for collecting a little souvenir, if it wasn't all rubbish...
Production shots by Bill Knight
This one has a rare audience connection, Vinette Robinson was watching and she, like Mr W, has worked with playwright/director Philip Ridley - Tender Napalm for the former and Mercury Fur & Leaves of Glass for the latter.