An Audience With Stuart Bagcliffe

An Audience with Stuart Bagcliffe was a great mixture of gentle comedy and intense drama that was written from scratch by Benny Ainsworth, who endeavoured to create something that felt like real life - as Stuart nervously reveals his life as he lived it, up to something that happened that changed him for good. This show not only looked at themes such as childhood crushes in teenage years, but physical and mental health in an in-depth exploratory way that was honest and insightful.

new writing that is dynamic, experimental and mindful

Under director Sally Parfett's guidance, Michael Parker was able to produce a character that was engaging, relatable and charming. He did not hesitate to bring out the fact that his mother was a big influence on his life - especially as he made her out to be watching behind from the wings, interfering if he went off track. The way he portrayed her as being protective towards him with him being diagnosed with Aldi Syndrome (a rare kidney disease that in the end kept him off school) came across as one that was warm, but extremely dominant. In fact, a lot of characters he portrayed in his life were physically and vocally so distinctive that they were easy to see in real time - like his childhood crush Daisy who was light and innocent in appearance, yet encouraged him to stray away from school and his teacher who was so dull that we couldn't help but laugh as he portrayed him in a very deadpan voice.

What was interesting about this piece was the way it was written. At times, the interruptions in the tale as his mother stopped the show and the sound tech kept falling asleep seemed unnecessary as it disrupted the flow of the text. However, as things evolve, we understood why this was necessary - to add an extra layer of comic nervous frustration as things went wrong, which then added to the tale later on. Whilst this does work well once you get used to it, a possible suggestion could be that the interuptions are taken out so the story can be concentrated on more. Having said that, the way the writing effortlessly flowed from one stage of Stuart's life to the other really aided the powerful performance that Parker showed in his portrayal of a boy who just wanted to live how he wanted to despite his health.

If you are someone who is easily triggered by some adult themes which are featured in An Audience with Stuart Bagcliffe, take care. But if you love new writing that is dynamic, experimental and mindful, then it comes highly recommended.

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

“Laugh out loud”, “Slick and powerful writing that keeps the audience mesmerised throughout” ★★★★ (London Pub Theatres) This comedic one-man show introduces Stuart Bagcliffe, who is about to perform his biographical play to an audience for the first time. Ill-prepared and lacking experience, Stuart is naturally a bundle of nerves. Join him as he attempts to make it through the play in one piece, contending with his overbearing mother watching from the wings, a sound technician who's half asleep, as well as his own demons and insecurities. What could possibly go wrong? Please note, 7pm performances are 18+ only.

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