Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Review - Hello Boys

As a friend once said to me, 'comedy is full of old jokes', but it is this fact that makes the stories in Maddy Bell's Hello Boys so identifiable to audience members both young and old.

Hello Boys follows the plight of four 20-somethings as they navigate through the dangerous world of dating from the clubs to coffee dates, from one night stands to avoiding the embarrassment of introducing the family.  They carry you along on a couple of bad dates and reminisce about some good ones before reaching the conclusion of contemplating the merits of speed dating over hooking up in a club. This is a timely decision supplemented on Thursday and Friday nights with the audience's participation in Mario-Kart Speed Dating. With superb characterisations of a nervous boy (Andy) and girl (Natalie), and sexually confident boy (Kit) and girl (Laura) these stereotypes resonate with the audience who saw enough of themselves in each of the characters to fill the theatre with a continued wave of laughter. To hear the audience groan in recognition or mumble an eponymous 'I've been there...' is what makes it so much more delightful to partake of.

From the title, and an acquaintance with Maddy Bell, my expectations were of a slightly more feminist piece, how women react when the boys are under the spotlight: dating with the lust, innuendo and un-repressed leers coming from the female side of the dance floor. An honest portrayal of what women are really thinking, without the bias of social expectations. However while the blurb hints at a coverage of wider views, Hello Boys follows the safer, straighter path with a well balanced cast where neither gender can be accused of monopolising the limelight and the antics of both are delighted at in turn.

A little raw around the edges with some flimsy connections between the sub plots, it is the first piece from writer Maddy Bell, but if her subsequent pieces create as many laughs and evoke as many memories of our own experiences, they will be well worth the wait.

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