Review: The frustrating and charming Hero
Review: Brash and bold it's girls behaving badly in Julius Caesar @DonmarWarehouse

Straight review: The stars allign to produce one of my favourite plays of the year

AN12643455Henry-Pettigrew-aI hate to use the word perfect because if you look hard enough you will inevitable find a flaw but both in watching and on reflection I can find nothing bad to say about DC Moore's play Straight. It is as if the stars of script, direction and performance aligned.

Straight's central premise is a drunken challenge between two university friends - Lewis (Henry Pettigrew) and Waldorf (Philip McGinley) - who are reunited after Waldorf returns from seven years travelling.

Lewis is married and thinking about starting a family with his wife Morgan (Jessica Ransom). Waldorf burst into their settled idyll - well cramped studio flat - with tales of adventure and sexual exploits. To say that Lewis re-evaluates his own life as a result would be doing the plot a disservice but I think to explain the challenge and how it changes the men's friendship and the relationship between husband and wife would be too much of a spoiler

Straight is an adaptation of the film Humpday and what you get is a script crackling with wit, humour and carefully observed behaviour. It was interesting and intriguing and under Richard Wilson's direction performed with perfect pitch - an achievement considering it is essentially a comedy about sex. It is laddish without being crude and exploitative; a situation that is contrived without being farcical, funny without being silly.

After having seen Hero at the Royal Court on Monday, a play which does not bear subsequent scrutiny well (I'll maybe write more about that elsewhere), the real triumph of Straight is the fact that it proves you don't need a complex plot or spades of subtext to make for an interesting and entertaining piece of theatre. It was thought-provoking but it didn't over-crowd with ideas.

If Straight doesn't make it into my top 10 list at the end of the year, I'll eat my warm winter hat. Go and see it.

Straight runs at the rather splendid Bush Theatre until Sat 22 December (yes it was my first visit to the new venue which means yes I did miss Kitchen Sink which seems to be a crime among regular theatre-goers).

Production photo: Robert Day


Jessica Ransom was in Posh with Joshua McGuire who is in The Hour with Mr W