Boy Toy

Above the Stag is – now that has two separate performance spaces – able to put on a dance production for the first time in its history. Boy Toy is a re-imagining of the well-known comic ballet Coppelia.

The possibilities the future holds for this dynamic pairing is very exciting

The entire piece has been conceived, directed and choreographed by William Spencer. Spencer has clearly got some very clever ideas and has certainly taken a lot of inspiration from Ballet Boyz and Matthew Bourne. Spencer has, however, pushed the boat out a bit further than Bourne’s work (with the possible exception of Dorian Gray) in terms of raunchiness, LGBT content, and sexual fantasies. One particular fight scene with a pair of dildos springs instantly to mind! Spencer describes the piece as a “homoerotic jazz ballet” and I feel that sums up this production very nicely indeed.

Featuring four performers Boy Toy tells the story of three young lads – Freddie, his boyfriend Simon, and Simon’s best friend Maximillan. Together they find a sex shop owned by the mysterious and perverted Dr C. All three later find themselves intrigued and enticed into the sex shop by the harness-wearing mannequin/sex doll on display in the window.

Above the Stag’s studio is transformed into a suitable dance space, with minimal, yet effective set. Its four ‘doors’ at the rear of the stage changing purpose, with some clever neon lighting displays, showing where in Soho the current scene is located.

Matthew Brazier shines on stage as Maximillan, with a very lively performance, and very enjoyable expressive facial features. His emotions were always very clear to understand and his elongated movements were exquisite. Lance Collins takes to the stage as Freddie in an extremely accomplished fashion. His bolshy, robust movements in the first scene give us a very clear impression as to his role in the on-stage couple. Full of bravado, yet also tenderness when needed, Collins was able to command the stage with a very magnetic performance indeed. Saul Kilcullen-Jarvis was an absolute joy to watch. His energy enthused the stage with passion and desire. In the second half of the play, when Kilcullen-Jarvis finds himself in the role of the mannequin his doll-like movements were perfect. In particular the sex scene between Freddie and Simon was the stand-out moment in the show for me. Both Saul and Lance really turned up the energy but it is Spencer’s choreography and direction along with Joseph Ed Tomas’s lighting design and Andrew Beckett’s set and costume design that really brought out the humour, love and power in equal measure in that climactic moment.

Callum Tempest is the fourth dancer in this production. As Dr C he gets to really show off his comic skills. His hunched over doctor with disturbing and menacing fantasies lurks in the shadow and background for much of the piece, except for a surprising scene where he pirouettes whilst wearing a flasher’s long coat! In the closing scenes Tempest is able to join the other performers and dance his way into our hearts.

Aaron Clingham is the Musical Director and Orchestrator for Boy Toy. Taking Léo Delibes original music and giving it a real jazzed up syncopated vibe full of percussion and synths. Spencer and Clingham clearly worked very well together in ensuring the Soho vibe of the show is able to weave its way into the score, where possible, to give the entire show one complete overarching concept. Sadly, there is not enough room for the orchestra to perform live and the quality, and volume, of the recording was dodgy at times but that is a minor criticism compared to the delightful experience the audience and I enjoyed.

Coming in at just over one hour without an interval, Boy Toy is a great debut for the addition of dance to Above the Stag’s programming. Those who have never seen a dance production before will find this to be a very enjoyable introduction to the genre. Dance aficionados will also see and appreciate the joy, humour and warmth Spencer and the rest of the team have been able to create and bring to the small studio theatre at Above the Stag; and the possibilities the future holds for this dynamic pairing is very exciting.

Reviews by Christopher James

King's Head Theatre Pub

All That

★★★★
Shaftesbury Theatre

Be More Chill

★★★★★
Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Forever Plaid

★★★★★
Islington Square

No Strings Attached

★★★★★
London

THIS IS REALITY 2000

★★★★
London, England

The Tell-Tale Heart

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A new dance show inspired by the classic comic ballet Coppélia.

Director/Choreographer: William SpencerMusical Director/Orchestrator: Aaron Clingham

Studio Theatre1 hour, no interval

Freddie is engaged to Simon, but on his way home from his stag do he falls in love with what he believes is a beautiful young man in a window. But the young man is really a doll, its movements mischievously controlled by the strange Dr C.

Set to Aaron Clingham’s music, inspired by Delibes’ classic original score, William Spencer’s jazz ballet is a fun and sexy story full of chaos, confusion and catfishing!

William Spencer choreographed Above The Stag’s productions of Queereteria TV and [title of show]. Aaron Clingham is an award-winning musical director who has looked after the music for many shows at Above The Stag Theatre and at venues across London. He arranged the music for Mother Goose Cracks One Out, Grindr: The Opera and Romance/Romance.

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets