Sid – Above the Arts Theatre, London

Writer: Leon Fleming
Director: Scott Le Crass
Reviewer: Stephen Bates

Craig has a vicious streak. His girlfriend has gone off to university and the void in his life becomes filled with themusic of the Sex Pistols and, more specifically, with images oftheir bass guitarist, the late Sid Vicious. Leon Fleming’s one-act play studies how cultural icons can become pervasive influences on the lives of our young.

To Craig, Sid Vicious is the eternal flame of the blazing Punk Rock era that all took place well before he was born. Others may have sold their soulsto television game shows and Golf, but Vicious bowed out at the grand young age of 22 and his anti-establishmentimage lives on untarnished. We see Craig in his bedroomat his mother’s home, about to leave for a disastrous visit to see his girlfriend. Just a single bed, a chair and a rail of t-shirts furnish the room and he plays punk rock loud, very loud.

Dario Coates plays Craig, under the direction of Scott Le Crass,with high energy, bouncing around the stage, confronting the audience aggressivelyone on one and shouting at the top of his voice. Craig personifies the theory that rebellion is an antidote to inadequacy and it is when showing us the character’s low self-esteem that Coates is strongest. He is not good enough to make uni himself, so he rants againststudents, he vilifies those who have betrayed the punk legacy, beats at his own chest violently when things start to go wrongand throws the furniture around his room.

At times, Craig seems a little more self-aware than might be natural, particularly when tracing back the roots of his Punk Rock obsession, only to find that the links are tenuous.The play’s early bark is louder than its ultimate bite, which isnot quite vicious enough to leave a lasting mark. Fifty minutes of Craig is about enough in this monologue format, but Fleming has created an intriguing character who could be developed further in an expanded drama.

Runs until 8 October 2016 | Image: Roy Tan

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