Jonathan Smeed is making his Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut in Run by Stephen Laughton at Lauriston Halls, courtesy of No Frills Theatre Company.
it successfully captures the longings and tribulations of growing up
The action is set over one summer following the last day of term. Yonni is a 17-year-old gay Jewish lad form north London who has a crush on Adam that is reaching the point of obsession. His story runs the gamut of fairly predictable events involving parental conflict, emotional torment, bullying and violence, protests and passion; the encounter with a beached whale being the exception. Most things are real but there is also a lot of fantasy and imagining going on in his head.
Smeeds style is contemporary and casual. He effortlessly speaks the language of his age group, but also does a very good job with reciting passages in Hebrew, especially the prayer as he drifts into sleep. He vividly creates the kitchen scene of his mother separating the yolks from the whites of the eggs. He also powerfully demonstrates the rage and anger Yonni feels when confronted by thugs and contrasts this with the softer affection he has for Adam and the more energised feeling of yearning.
The stark stage, with no theatre lighting, combined with the echoing acoustic and large space of the hall deprive the production of the intimacy inherent in the story. It does enable Smeed to give a more physical performance, however, using the area to create different locations and to energetically jump onto and off the stage and move up and down the stairs for different scenes.
It’s a job well done and it successfully captures the longings and tribulations of growing up.