Boy out the City at Battersea’s Turbine Theatre is a solo piece performed by Declan Bennett. In it, he explores his experience of lockdown in an Oxfordshire village. The isolation brings with it a struggle with alcohol and loneliness and this triggers a battle with some familiar mental health demons.
Bennett is a likeable, engaging and energetic performer
He revisits pivotal moments from his past - homophobic bullying at school, discovering his love for performing, hiding his sexuality, finding liberation in the big city, and the lonely fight against testicular cancer.
The struggle culminates in a climactic epiphany in which he makes a life-changing realisation.
Bennett is a likeable, engaging and energetic performer, nicely blending prose and verse in his writing. He has a tendency to overuse the bitter end of his emotional palate (hardly surprising, perhaps, given the resentment he’s portraying), but this is punctuated with moments of longing, confusion, vulnerability, humour and real joy.
There is a lot here to like - and some nicely portrayed lockdown behaviour that many of us will recognise in one way or another.