Writer: Rob Ward and Martin Jameson
Director: Martin Jameson
Reviewer: Craig Hepworth
Every so often a fringe play comes along that really raises the bar, Manchester has had quite a few over the past few years and Away From Home is no exception. First seen during last year’s 24/7 theatre festival where it was easily the stand out show, the play is now open at The Lowry before embarking on a UK tour thanks to Hartshorn Hook Productions picking up the show, and if tonight is anything to go by, the UK is in for a treat.
Written by Rob Ward and Martin Jameson the show looks at the life of Kyle, a gay escort who is comfortable with his job and has managed to find a balance between his football loving life style and his work, that is until he’s hired by a premiership footballer who throws his once balanced life in to utter chaos as emotions creep in to his world.
The piece is a one man play with Ward taking on the rôles of multiple characters but the beauty is that the writing paints the world so vividly that it’s easy to imagine multiple cast members up there. Dealing with issues such as homophobia in the football world it would be easy for this play to feel preachy but it never feels like that, instead it presents us with a story and allows us to see the action unfold. To say this is a just a play about homophobia in the sporting world though would do it a huge disservice, that might be the framework for the piece but it’s the rest of the show where the heart and the drama really come alive. Kyle’s interaction with his friends and family as someone who has a secret is handled perfectly and it’s these moments in the show that make Kyle’s journey with the footballer really come alive.
Ward himself is electrifying to watch. He commands the stage for every second of its 60 minute run time taking you in and out of the characters and situations with ease. From the moment he walks out on stage he has you in the palm of his hand, and that is a gift that all actors would love to have. Ward makes it easy to root for his character and at times his relationship, even though both are deeply flawed characters and the relationship between the men has a warning sign at every corner.
Away From Home is a show that could have a fantastic future if the rest of the UK audiences embrace the show as well as Manchester has. I hope to God they do as this really is something very special and I for one am looking forward to going right back and watching the show again
Reviewed on 30th January 2014