Kids Play (4 stars)

Kids Play

credit: PBG Studios

Two men, a bag of sex-toys and some moral danger in a thriller from Glenn Chandler

Audiences love a twist, or even better, a double-twist; the mother lode for a thriller writer is the kind of twisty-turny narrative that engrosses the audience from start to finish. Genre warhorses include Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth to Ira Levin's Deathtrap; the latest from Glenn Chandler, creator of television's Taggart, merits comparison with the best.

Two men meet for the first time in a Brighton hotel room; there's a convention of insurance men going on, and a casually-dressed seventeen year old Greg (Clement Charles) makes his way to the room of the older, more worldly Theo (Gareth Watkins). Both men are hoping for sex, but that's not what they get; Perhaps Greg isn't quite the innocent he makes himself out to be, and Theo's aggressive bravado may hide a vulnerable side. As the stakes get raised, the question of who will come out on top is constantly in doubt, and the two find themselves playing games revolving around more than sex.

Chandler's script for Kids Play is first-rate; he avoids the plot contrivances that many writers embrace, and instead doubles-down on a darkly-comic character conflict; both characters want something more than sexual kicks, and Chandler fetishises the power-shifts with startling 'did-I–just-hear-that-right?'dialogue. Charles, stripped to his boxers and clutching his teddy-bear is a picture of innocence, and Watkins makes something ferocious of Theo's suited and booted hard-man. But as a director, Chandler doesn't offers torture as entertainment; despite some detail about a bag of sex-toys, this is a classic two-hander in the old style, and will appeal to anyone who loves good theatre.

The only catch about a good twist play is that they're hard to describe without giving the game away; let's just say Drayton Arms Theatre promises an intelligent, challenging thrill-ride and Kids Play nails it.

theSpace@Niddry St, until 25 Aug, 5.15pm, £9 (£7).

Kids Play

  • 4 stars

Boys of the Empire Productions Checklist. Pyjamas, teddy bear, money, train ticket, pills, handcuffs. Text Marty. Tell him if I don't call by midnight, something's happened to me and he best start dredging rivers. LOL… From Glenn Chandler, creator of Taggart and writer/director of Sandel (Fringe 2013) – ‘a gem of a…

Comments

1. Glenn Chandler23 Aug 2018, 11:08pm Report

The names are round the wrong way. Theo is played by Clement Charles, and Greg by Gareth Watkins. And it's not on at the Drayton Arms Theatre (see last paragraph - that's where the Edinburgh previews were held in London) but at the Space in Niddry Street. However, a beautiful review for which we are very grateful.

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