The stellar reputation of Paines Plough’s championing of new writing for the theatre means that each new offering is welcomed with a great deal of anticipation. Constantly hard-hitting, their offerings present fresh perspectives on contemporary issues voiced by some of the most exciting dramatic writers in the UK. This play, Growth, by Luke Norris, takes on the sensitive subject of testicular cancer (a word that pertinently is never actually vocalised) and gives a voice to those struggling to deal with the disease, as well as raising awareness of the ailment that afflicts a not insignificant number of men.

All three actors here deliver Norris’s dialogue with an alacrity and attack that maintains a severe pace throughout

Housed in Paines Plough’s own touring theatre space, this production benefits from the intimate in-the-round configuration afforded, creating the impression that the characters before us are hemmed in by the difficulties they face. And indeed the suffering of the central protagonist, a young down-on-his-luck known by all as ‘Tobes’, is played with feeling by Andy Rush. The starkness of the scene transitions adds to the sense that it is Tobes against the world, as we are presented with one problem after another, leading to the feeling that a happy ending may be unlikely.

All three actors here deliver Norris’s dialogue with an alacrity and attack that maintains a severe pace throughout – such is the relentless nature of the scenes that we come to share in Tobes’s feeling that the walls of his world are closing in. Scattered amongst the lines are barbed references to so-called masculinity with Tobes being told to ‘man-up’ and derided as a ‘delicate flower’ – apparently more ‘orchid rather than oak tree’. The casual use of such recognisable sentiments present within sections of society is helpful in illuminating perhaps the greatest issue associated with this type of cancer, the reluctance of many men to seek treatment, or even to get checked, because of some kind of imagined stigma connected with doing so.

All three actors work superbly together, and despite the challenges faced by multi-roling with very little time for character development, they each manage to squeeze a great deal of humour out of each exchange. Certainly, owing to the thoroughly entertaining nature of much of the play, the harder-hitting elements are made all the more thought-provoking. The closing scenes are entirely successful in providing an element of perspective for Tobes and for the audience, and are sure to have the impact for which they were designed.

Reviews by Joshua Clarke


A Gentleman's Game

Assembly George Square Theatre

How to Win Against History

Assembly Roxy

A Streetcar Named Desire

C venues - C nova

A Number by Caryl Churchill


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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

‘That? That’s. I mean. Yeah. It’s a lump in a bag of lumps. I mean. It’s normal.’ Tobes is young, free and having a ball. Off. He’s successfully ignored his lump for two years but it’s starting to get in the way – cramping his style and, worse, affecting his sex life. So now there are pants to be dropped, and decisions to be made... it's a real ball-ache. Growth is a comedy about growing up and manning up from rising star Luke Norris (So Here We Are, Royal Exchange. Goodbye to All That, Royal Court).

Most Popular See More

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets