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Scenes with Boys | Riverside Studios

Scenes With Boys, written and directed by Sam Smith, is a well written show that weaves scenes from the lives of Ro (Cavan Malone), Jam (Joe Harrington) and Freddie (Ki Griffin) as they struggle with identity, relationships, internal conflicts and the larger society. Following Ro, as he realises his growing and consuming feelings for his best mate, Jam, and the consequences this has on their friendship, and Freddie. 

Having recently won "Best Direction" in the Bitesized Awards (the award ceremony of the Bitesize Festival, where the show was first performed last month), Scenes With Boys is an incredibly strong and focused piece of queer theatre. Exploring deeper themes and layers of gender, with hints of the casual and everyday obstacles and harassment that they face, and the toxic and media- influenced notions of obsession and love, the play handles this all with a careful and steady hand. 

Cavan Malone, as Ro, does a commendable job at highlighting the conflicting notions of internal and external pressure, and the crushing weight of trying to manage rather intense emotions. It becomes an emotional rollercoaster as the audience watches this one sided love grow and develop, and ultimately results in a heart breaking piece of spoken word. Ki Griffin as Freddie brings a wave of fresh air and light-hearted moments, and really shines in their confidence and advice. Joe Harrington as Jam has a limited stage time, yet he still manages to deliver a layered and subtle performance. 

As suggested by the title, the show unfolds through a series of scenes that are joined by the character's emotional threads and in an unmentioned time period. Embracing and defying gender roles and stereotypes, Scenes With Boys often uses classic literature and the modern slang to dissect the timeless pain of the unrequited love.

Another particularly strong plot line is the friendship between Freddie and Ro, whose friendship is tested time and time again. The two aren't afraid to confront one another, and rear the ugly truth to the surface, and this is a new and sensitive direction in the types of male friendships that are seen on stage.

The ensemble fills in the space on stage as there isn't any furniture or frequent props. Moving as one abstract body, the occasional movements that are derived in response to certain words are interesting to watch and draws attention to these core words. However, during moments where they also produce sound effects such as laughter and heavy breathing, it does distract from the main action on the stage. 

The show's finale ultimately brings its greatest strength, with a brilliant meta twist that adds several layers to the entire show. Unintentionally usurping the rest of the play by providing a new perspective, this moment really sets Scenes With Boys apart, elevating it to an extraordinary commentary on art, love and life. Performed by Luc de Freitas and Archie Bush, this scene will stay with you long after leaving the theatre. 

Scenes With Boys is a commendable and incredible play that will doubtlessly embark on a future life. Focusing on humanity of the characters, the play becomes relatable and the audience is swept away by the actions and moved by the consequences.  Scenes with Boys played on the 10th of March as part of the Bitesized Festival Awards.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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