Review: Beautiful Thing

Jake Davies and Suranne JonesJake Davies and Suranne Jones
Jake Davies and Suranne Jones
The coincidence isn’t obvious, but 1993 turned out to be a turning point for gay culture on stage and screen.

First, Tom Hanks movie Philadelphia, then landmark play Angels in America. They scooped Oscars and a Pulitzer prize. They also both featured central characters with AIDS.

In contrast Jonathan Harvey’s tale of two boys falling in love on a London council estate quietly slipped into the public consciousness in the same year – and gave us a much happier ending.

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Beautiful Thing is just that. A simple play chronicling the coming of age of two gay teens without any homoeroticism, misery or violence. And two decades after it debuted, Harvey’s gem is still poignant.

This production perfectly casts Suranne Jones as Sandra, the single-mum of sensitive-but-smart boy Jamie who is head-over-heels in love with next door neighbour Ste.

Jake Davies and Danny-Boy Hatchard are captivating in their respective roles. Even Zaraah Abrahams, who plays Jamie’s other neighbour, Mama Cass-loving Leah, brings something distinctive to her performance, while Oliver Farnworth does a decent job as Sandra’s toyboy.

A timeless classic still quietly breaking boundaries.

To June 8.

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