Apples

Adapted from Richard Milward's 2006 novel, Apples is a slice of teen life in all its grottiness, expanded to cartoonish proportions from a starting point of Northern reality. Set in Middlesborough, accents are strong and drugs apparently even stronger, but Company of Angels inject the production with a vibrant humour that prevents it feeling too grim up north. This is the story of Adam and Eve - well, not quite the story, but that's kind of the point. Adam is a callow, young romantic with a strong dose of O.C.D. and Eve is the object of his affections, a popular party-girl who's starting to wonder if she shouldn't settle down with someone who isn't a knucklehead.The show's prime knucklehead, and perhaps is most important figure, is Gary Clinton, a gurning meatball and double-rapist played by Louis Roberts with unsettling affability. Gary is a little too fun, given his horrendous actions, but all the characters are more fun than I remember from the book; far from the relentlessly MODERN, EDGY, Skins comparisons that beset the novel on its first appearance, this production lets Milward's lightness of touch and vividly-unusual imagery shine through. One problem with the script is its novelistic feel: long sections of prose, admittedly good prose, are delivered directly to the audience, moving the story forward but often delaying the physical action.I'd have liked more actual dialogue, but Scott Turnbull and Therase Neve are great as the unlikely central couple, a scene where clubbers dance together either side of slatted screens underlined the separateness that can attach to this kind of teenage search for romance, and Dylan Edge as a butterfly with only 24 hours to find a mate threatens to steal the entire show. Well worth a bite.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

The Blurb

Richard Milward's cult novel. A dazzling tragicomic love story of adolescence where Adam and Eve inhabit a very different Eden. 'The drugs, the sex, the boozing ... it all smacks beautifully of the real thing' (Time Out).