Mysterious Skin boils Heim's novel (4 stars)

This article is from 2010.

Mysterious Skin

Bleakly powerful adaptation of bestselling novel

This disarming exploration of sexuality, desire and childhood abuse is based on the acclaimed novel by Scott Heim, which was turned into the equally well-received movie adaptation by maverick filmmaker Gregg Araki.

Prince Gomolvilas' stage version wisely resists merely recreating the film onstage, instead boiling Heim’s novel to its dramatic essentials and moving the story along at pace. As Gomolvilas opts not to tell the story of a pair of wildly different teenage boys (both of whom are haunted by their memories of an inexplicable childhood encounter), chronologically, initial scenes are a little heavy on exposition. Once the back story is dealt with, however, the punchy script delivers some very powerful scenes, as first asexual nerd Brian Lackey and child baseball star turned gay hustler Neil McCormick, struggle to come to terms with what happened to them when they were eight years old. Despite occasional tussles with Kansan accents the cast is generally strong, with the two leads coming into their own in the play’s bleakly poignant final scene.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 30 Aug, 1pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).

Mysterious Skin

  • 4 stars

By Prince Gomolvilas, adapted from the book by Scott Heim. Directed by Peter Darney. Brian gets nose bleeds - and blackouts. Neil gets paid for sex - with older men. Alien abductee Avalyn gets lonely - and wants her next close encounter. 'Mysterious Skin' is a searing and explicit exploration of sexuality, misguided…

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