Kenny Roach is an artist, lecturer and alcoholic. His story is one of success, jealousy and frustration in this moving drama about the pressures and rivalries within the arts where relationships, even those closest to you, are put to the ultimate test.
The chemistry between the two actors is brilliant; we always believe the underlying pain that both characters express and this leads to a truly heartfelt ending.
When Kenny (John Stenhouse) delivers a lecture where he questions the meaning of art, our first impression of him is that he is a very charming, funny and passionate man. Stenhouse embodies all of these qualities right from the start, wonderfully introducing us to the character as well as the themes and questions that the play is driven by.
As Kenny battles with his worsening addiction to alcohol, Stenhouse’s performance only becomes stronger as he brings out the darker aspects of the character. The charming man we were introduced to soon exposes himself as an egotistical hypocrite and Stenhouse captures this brilliantly.
The characters consist only of Kenny and his wife Lisa (Lisa Stenhouse). Lisa painfully supports Kenny for as long as she can and together the duo expose the tension between them. The chemistry between the two actors is brilliant; we always believe the underlying pain that both characters express and this leads to a truly heartfelt ending.
The story is nothing original – a man descends into alcoholism, losing everything and having to rebuild his life again but there are moments of really well–executed writing. For example, one particular scene in the London Underground really delves into Kenny’s mind; as we wait for Kenny to make a climatic decision, it makes for a really tense scene. There are also moments, particularly towards the end, that are very moving indeed and this leaves us feeling like we have been with Kenny throughout his journey. This is a real credit to Rebecca Russell's writing.
There are some really strong aspects that come together to form a polished, well-constructed show that will take you with it all of the way. Even if you have heard the story before it won't stop you from being moved by this production.