Abominations review of a powerful drama at Etcetera Theatre

  • Our critic's rating:
    Wednesday, May 4, 2016
    Review by:
    Bona Ruocco

    Abominations is a play written and directed by Matthew Campling, and this “tryout production” is currently running at the Etcetera Theatre, a small fringe venue above the Oxford Arms pub in Camden, north west London.

    The play tackles Christian religious homophobia, but at it's heart there are two main themes: a love story and coming out to your family. Neither of these are straightforward and there are numerous hurdles to cross for the characters involved. The love story comes in the form of a first love for Matthew, a young man who works in a builders merchants. True to the form of a first love, he is completely besotted with the guy that he has fallen head over heals for. The object of his desire is Jeff, a married man with two children. Also in the mix are Jeff's jilted wife Sharon and Tony, who is the boss at the buiders merchants. Oh, and Tony just so happens to be Jeff's father...

    There are some comedy moments throughout the play, but essentially the themes are serious. We have the break up of a marriage to deal with, after all. Sharon, played by Natalie Harper, is one very angry wife, venting her rage whenever she appears on stage. And watching someone dip his toes into that thing called love is very touching – Christopher Burr, as Malcolm, gets this just right. However, I must confess that I was slightly distracted whenever I saw Christopher, for he is the spitting image of Chesney Hawkes, a pop star from the nineties!!

    All the scenes move along swiftly right from the start where we get to meet the characters and up until the end, having been on a rollercoaster ride with them. Sadly in this day and age there are still some that think homosexuality is an 'abomination' and this play helps to explain why that is the case. It's gritty, realistic and keeps your attention throughout. We want to know what happens next and and if there will be a happy ending.

    The producers hope that the play will transfer to a larger theatre and from what I've seen that is a real possibility. However the intimate Etcetera Theatre set up does allow us to see the intensity of the action up close and personal, so I hope this will not be lost in a larger venue. This is a slice of kitchen sink drama that is well worth seeing.

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