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Review: The People of the Town, RADA's Gielgud Theatre

David Dawson is the star of this new play by Lily Bevan which has had such a short run at RADA's Gielgud Theatre by the time this is published it will be over.

He plays a French theatre director Antoine who is pretentious and arrogant and, well, very French. The first word of the play: "Hedgehog", he delivers with a deliciously comic mix of Gallic disdain and melodrama that quickly had the audience in stitches. He believes humans are all like "hedgehogs",  you see, isolated because their spines prevent them from getting close to one another. He's also a surrealist.

What follows this opening delight is slightly odd series of set up scenes in which we get a quick back story for the main characters before heading straight to the main event which is an acting workshop  Antoine is hosting with his camp assistant Jean-Paul (Jolyon Coy). And that is pretty much it as far as plot goes. Antoine wants to mould everyone into his style which he does by getting them to work on the opening scene of his current hit play.

It's very funny in a surreal and often ridiculous way and almost entirely because of Dawson. Having never trained (or contemplated training) as an actor there was a feeling that I snuck into a secret club meeting. The play does feel a little too knowing at times and although it is an enjoyable hour and 15 minutes I did feel like an outsider, not quite getting all the in-jokes.

Still it was worth every penny to see Dawson and one to look out for if it surfaces again at some point in the future.


David Dawson and Jolyon Coy were both in Posh at the Royal Court with Joshua Maguire who was in The Hour with Mr W