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Was there something in the water at the Dursley house: Another star turn by Harry Melling in I Am A Camera @swkplay

Camera2It is quickly becoming a joy to see Harry Melling on stage. Aside from Daniel Radcliffe he's probably made the most successful transition from a 'Harry Potter actor' to an accomplished actor in his own right.

I first saw him at the National Theatre in Mother Courage and All Her Children, ironically playing son to his Harry Potter screen mother Fiona Shaw and then he stole his scenes in Women Beware Women, also at the National.

Last year he got his first lead in the wonderful When Did You Last See My Mother at the Trafalgar Studios and I was hooked. So much so that I couldn't miss seeing him play Christopher Isherwood in I Am A Camera at the Southwark Playhouse.

And he didn't let me down. Once again he carries off a role with such confidence and skill it is easy to forget that he is only 23 - there must have been something in the water in the Dursley house.

Set against the back drop of the rise of the Nazi's in 1932, a young Isherwood is living in Berlin, barely earning his keep tutoring the daughter of a rich Jewish family. Forced to take a smaller room at his lodgings by his financial situation he quickly becomes friends with rebellious posh girl Sally Bowles (Rebecca Humphreys) who takes his old room and who survives earning money singing in clubs and eating out on rich men.

Over the period of a few months we follow the highs and lows of the two friends lives and of those around them - most notably Fritz (Freddie Capper), who fancies Natalia (Sophie Dickson) the Jewish heiress and Sally's ever more complicated love life. Their situation is a little heightened by the increasingly volatile political situation in the city as anti-semitism grows.

And, if I was to have one gripe with the play it would be that there isn't quite enough of the politics weaved into the story. It is easy to forget for periods that they are living in 1930s Berlin. But otherwise the strength of the piece is the friendship between Christopher and Sally. They are at such ease in each others company you want to be around them and enjoy the banter. Ultimately Sally is a transparent and flighty woman whose loyalty is only really to herself but it is certainly fun while it lasts.

Great performances from all concerned and aside from Melling, Humphreys is certainly going on my one to watch out for list.

Fiona Shaw said of Melling back in 2009: "I always thought he would be a marvellous character actor but he's turned into a marvellous leading actor. Suddenly I feel I'm looking at Hamlet." I'm not sure whether I've written it or talked about it but I've had similar thoughts myself he would make a great young Hamlet and London theatre-land really needs another one of those.

I'm giving I Am A Camera four stars. It runs at the Southwark Playhouse until Sept 22


Harry Melling was in Women Beware Women with the lovely Samuel Barnett who was in Bright Star with Mr W