Review - Strangers In Between at Trafalgar Studios
This 2005 Australian coming-of-age (and coming out) drama received its UK premiere at the King's Head Theatre pub in the summer of 2016, and now it belatedly moves to Trafalgar Studios 2 as part of that theatre's West End residency that also saw it present its production of La Boheme there.
It's a small play but a big hearted one that earns its place there. It touchingly portrays the journey of 16-year-old Shane who, in flight from his estranged family and especially bullying older brother Ben, arrives in Sydney from the countryside to make a new life for himself, banish the demons of his past and explore his sexuality.
It's a bumpy adolescent journey, of course -- his early encounter with a local, slightly older boy leads to a dose of anal warts -- and there could also be an opportunistic predatory edge to the friendship extended to him by a more mature man called Peter. But in Adam Spreadbury-Maher's sensitively nuanced production, the insecurity, tension and feeling is winningly explored, particularly thanks to a really authentically inhabited and uninhibited performance from Roly Botha as Shane.
As the two men who act as his initiator and guide to Sydney's gay scene, Dan Hunter and Stephen Connery-Brown are nicely contrasted. Hunter also does excellent double service to play Shane's brother, too.
It's a moving, charming portrait of a boy finding his own place in the world.
Strangers In Between Tickets are available now.