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Porridge Boy | Greenwich Theatre

Porridge Boy, written and directed by Brendan Shelly in his theatrical debut, has begun it’s run at The Greenwich Theatre. Following a family after the loss of their patriarch, Porridge Boy is thoroughly earnest and ambitious, but is ultimately a bleak play with a shaky premise. Despite the title, Porridge Boy is barely about its own protagonist, which leaves the audience feeling inadvertently unmoored. A disjointed set and unbalanced sound design only contributes to the general feeling of unease.

What easily could have been a microscopic look at the ramifications of grief, Porridge Boy falls flat, delivering a piece that is packed full of technically well-formed and poignant songs but ultimately lacks a character-driven, forward-moving plot. There are several gaps in the storytelling, offering several plot avenues, but none satisfactorily followed through on, leaving many loose ends untied.

Porridge Boy is more than a play with songs, but it’s not quite a musical either. It boasts 17 brand new songs—certainly an impressive feat—and though they are the strong points of the show, 17 is far too many for a show that of this size. If this show was pared back, allowing the few beautiful moments of tenderness to shine, picking the songs that carry the most narrative weight, and dove deeper into the inner and outer lives of the characters, it could be a very strong show.

There’s not much to say about Porridge Boy, likely because Porridge Boy, despite its length doesn’t say much. In a sea of plays about bereavement, it unfortunately offers nothing novel. Porridge Boy is playing at the Greenwich Theatre until 26th May - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️ (2*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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