Stuart: A Life Backwards (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

Stuart: A Life Backwards

credit: Robbie Jack

A touching meeting of minds in adaptation of Alexander Masters’ acclaimed story

The tale of an unlikely friendship, which blossoms in the most unlikely of situations, Stuart: A Life Backwards has leapt from book to TV film to stage, making a smooth transition at every turn. Partly, this is because of the quality of writing and acting afforded each project.

But a large part of this comes down to Stuart himself – a truly fascinating man whose real life was filled with as much wit and intelligence as it was tragedy.

Stuart Shorter and Alexander Masters (author of the original biography) meet at a homeless hostel. The former a working-class service user, the latter a middle-class worker. Together they campaign for the release of two wrongly accused hostel employees. But it’s the men’s friendship that is the real story here.

Praise cannot be heaped high enough on actor Fraser Ayres, who is truly phenomenal in the role of Stuart, capturing his inherent vulnerability (following childhood sexual abuse), physical frailties as a result of multiple sclerosis, and his endlessly likeable charm.

Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 26 Aug, 3.30pm, £12–£14 (£11–£13).

Stuart: A Life Backwards

  • 4 stars

New work from award winning playwright Jack Thorne, about an unlikely friendship.