Sid by Leon Fleming arrived at Sherman Cymru as the first stop in a nationwide tour following its stint at Camden’s 2015 Fringe Festival.
Sid is the story of Craig. The misunderstood youth, somewhat obsessed by all things punk- but proper punk, not Green Day, able to wax lyrical about Sid. It’s ok, he has a girlfriend.
What makes Craig real, and makes punk references relevant to those with no register is the immediate use of the theatre space. As always, the Sherman’s Studio is perfect for performances such as these, the one person show. What makes this a step apart from the others is the confidence Dario Coates embraces within the role. No member of the audience is safe from direct eye contact, the audience space is used as a place to challenge and channel Craig’s obsession with punk. And what made this critically perfect on the night was that all aspects of audience engagement- including a mobile phone ringing- were seamlessly integrated, the audience were truly incorporated.
On an evening where the Sherman 5 audience were welcomed into the Studio, you couldn’t help but think this the perfect piece to introduce people to the theatre, Craig is not someone who is observed, he is in front of you and as real in life as the people you know.The writing underpinning Craig’s story has so many layers, 24 hours on parts of the performance are resonating so clearly, as the complexities to Craig’s characters were unpicked through the action of this piece.
Beginning with Craig’s problem- his girlfriend getting a place at university, the divide possible through this single act. With this starting point, so much is revealed, Craig’s relationship with his mother, his obsession with Sid and Nancy, and this sense of isolation.
Scott Le Crass’s direction cleverly creates a separation of events and emotion, incorporating humour and music to maintain the nervous energy, which engages the audience with the feeling of where this tale may be going. Because you get to go with Craig on his five-hour journey to see his girlfriend, to meet her uni friends- Tom and Dan. The incorporation of mimicked voices creates humour in spite of the change of atmosphere, the reality of the situation becoming so far from Craig’s motivation for his visit.
The class divide is brought to the fore, the difference between knowing or feeling something, and all bringing the audience closer into the mix of emotions and feelings which make up Craig. And with this, so the underpinning sense of Craig unfolds, the complexity of relationships, the influencing moments of our lives. The strength of the piece is in each of the elements. The talent and passion of the team bringing this together is evident from the outset. And to have such a strong performer taking hold of such a multi-faceted script seems almost fate.
Sid is now on tour, and can be found at venues including:
3rd– 8th May Etcetera Theatre, Camden 020 7482 4857 www.etceteratheatre.com
10th– 11th June Jersey Opera House, Jersey C. I. 01534 511 115 www.jerseyoperahouse.co.uk
17th June Old Joint Stock, Birmingham 0121 200 0946 www.oldjointstock.co.uk
23-24 June Rialto Theatre, Brighton 01273 725230 www.rialtotheatre.co.uk
Disclosure: I was invited to the performance for the purpose of this review. All opinions and views contained are my own.
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