★★★★ | The Boys Upstairs
For their first play of 2015, Above the Stag have turned to another American comedy, The Boys Upstairs. Dubbed a cross between Sex and the City and The Boys in the Band, Jason Mitchell’s play first premiered in the 2009 New York Fringe Festival, where it played a completely sold-out run at the Soho Playhouse. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it achieves a similar feat at Above The Stag in Vauxhall.
Brilliantly witty and funny, the play details the lives of three young chums, their disastrous love affairs, their arguments, and their quest to find out if the hunky new guy downstairs “is” or “isn’t.”
Director Andrew Beckett’s pacing never falters in this fast and furious comedy, aided by a cast of talented young actors. Simon Weston maintained from start to finish a brilliantly dry delivery as the geeky, wise-cracking Josh who suffers from OCD, whilst Stanley Eldridge as his former boyfriend and untidy flatmate, was equally funny but also touchingly real as Seth. Joe Leather turned in a hilarious performance as the endlessly promiscuous Ashley, waking up every morning with a different lover, after getting drunk yet again, and Daniel Garcia was perfectly cast as the slightly gauche but stunningly handsome Eric. Last but not least there was the multi-talented Hugh O’Donnell who has a high old time playing all the various boyfriends that come in and out of their lives. Every one of his characterisations was spot on, but his turn as the musical theatre queen (one of Ash’s one-night stands) is an absolutely side-splitting tour de force, which quite rightly brings the house down.
One should also mention Zoe Hurwitz’s excellent set design, one of the best I’ve seen at Above The Stag.
If you’re suffering from those post-holiday January/February blues and feel you could do with a lift, you could do much worse than getting yourself down to Above The Stag for this crazy comedy, which is guaranteed to lift your spirits and get you laughing.
The Boys Upstairs plays at Above The Stag in Vauxhall until February 2015