REVIEW: FAUN @ THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH
📍 The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR
🗓 Wednesday 2nd May 2023
At 22, Ace is at a crossroads in their life and is in a state somewhere between reality and absurdity! They're sofa surfing and we meet them as they have just secured the thirteenth sofa in a long line of sofas!
Ace is trans and is about to stay with straight cis couple Paige and Ant. Ant is somewhat resistant to having Ace stay on the sofa, but as one of Paige's oldest friends, she convinces him.
Written by Vinnie Heaven, this play explores the dynamics between not only the queer and straight communities but the power struggle between Ace who is eager to please and Paige who, whether willingly or not, takes advantage of them.
The first half of the play focuses on the relationship between the three and with Ace keen to be the perfect house guest as they literally have nowhere else to go, they put up with all sorts of behaviour from their hosts. The situation falls apart when Ace gives into temptation and sleeps with Ant. They soon find themselves back on the street with nowhere to turn.
Production Image: Paige, Ace and Ant have a party
This play shines a light on the issue of homelessness and how easy it can be to find yourself in this situation, through no fault of your own. There is a very powerful scene where Ace attempts to reconcile with their mum, only to discover all their belongings in a bin.
Aitch Wylie brings the character of Ace to life in an engaging and entirely believable way. I liked the way the character spoke directly to the audience, even sometimes mid conversation with another character! You really feel every emotion they are experiencing and as they fall victim to being a people pleaser, Wylie competently takes you along on their journey, even if it does get a bit surreal!
The story takes a more abstract turn as we see Ace enter the Queer Forest and meet Doe and Plant! Although a bit zany at times, the point of this part of the story is to make Ace really look at themselves and focus on what makes them happy. It may be a bit tongue-in-cheek but the message of queer power and self love is strong and joyful to watch.
Completing the cast are Nyah Randon and Afton Moran, who play all the other characters! Randon is an exquisite actor who completely embodies her roles. I loved how she changed her physicality and tone incredibly well, even making you question whether or not it was the same actor. Her portrayal of Doe was perhaps my favourite performance of the whole piece.
Production Image: Doe in the Queer Forest
Moran also showed great versatility, beginning the show as the straight cis man Ant and ending with great flair as Stag who led a fun-filled finale.
This play is an unapologetic celebration of the queer community, but is also hard-hitting as it explores homelessness and family estrangement.
This production is also very strong technically, I especially liked the wonderful set design but the lighting, sound and direction were all really good.
Presented by Cardboard Citizens, Faun has one more performance at Theatre Royal Plymouth tonight. There are still tickets left at www.theatreroyal.com so click the link and book now.
This is an important piece of theatre which is cleverly constructed and is a real conversation starter.
All views are my own and I pride myself on being open, honest and free from influence.
My tickets for this performance were gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to review the production. The fact that my tickets were gifted played no part in my star rating for this review.
Production Image: Stag
Aitch Wylie as Ace; Nyah Randon as Paige / Doe; Afton Moran as Ant / Stag / Plant
RUNNING TIME (approx):
80 minutes with no interval
Adult themes; Strong language; Sexual references; References to homelessness and family estrangement
Production Image: Ace pleads with Paige
The mission of Theatre Royal Plymouth is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West and is the country's largest and most attended regional producing theatre.