It is either apt or ironic that a show whose set recreates a building site feels a little messy. A one-hander telling the tale of a day in the life of Jerry the electrician, Sparks attempts to shed light on “the loss of sense of identity in the face of economic collapse and how unreliable our personal narrative can be.” To do this successfully however, it would benefit from a little more work on construction.

Tone and pitch barely vary with Jerry, spanning only from anger to apoplexy.

First and foremost, actor Darren Killeen must be praised for his commitment to both energy and character. In the play’s supporting roles, Killeen pulls out some electrifying performances: as Jerry’s dogsbody apprentice his stammering vocals and comical hunch are absolutely on point; as his slovenly slug of a boss, Jake, he is marvellous - masticating on a mars bar and spraying forth saliva to stomach-turning effect. Killeen is unwavering and as much of a grafter as his character.

The main fault in Sparks’s system is a big one: The character of Jerry is not only intensely dislikeable, but patchily put together. It is a struggle to sympathise with a character who communicates to others near exclusively in bawls and shrieks; paroxysmal because a salesman takes too long checking his stock and spitting blood over the fact someone forgot to put sauce on his sandwich. Tone and pitch barely vary with Jerry, spanning only from anger to apoplexy. Attempts to humanise him are paltry: Jerry performs a two-minute monologue that plays like a whistle-stop tour of working men’s rage right around subjects spanning unemployment, immigration and the EU; in a flashback to Jerry’s childhood we are shown that he was once ridiculed by other children for his paintings. Such does not excuse such a toxic disposition. But Jerry does not even have consistency enough to be termed one-note. Why, for example, does a man unmitigated in his moans about the incompetency of his apprentice, and who yields not so much as a smile throughout the entirety of the play, send his apprentice to buy a glass hammer?

Such shakiness finds its foundation in uncertain blocking. Whilst there are some clever moments - when Jerry kneels at a plank and clasps his hands, is he at a church or a pub? - and Killeen’s physical switch from character to character is largely effective, the opening minutes of the play in particular feel loose and flat. Jerry wanders about the stage again and again searching for something with no indication to the audience of what (it is later revealed he needs a socket box). This is then followed by a section in which his apprentice does likewise (to show the audience he is incompetent). When the fruits of his search prove the incorrect ones, he once again searches around the stage. When the socket box is found, he must find a screwdriver. When the screwdriver is found, it’s the wrong kind. Such unnecessary repetition, with Killeen wandering around with no particular direction, feels messy and unengaging.

Overall, Sparks has flickers of brilliance but largely fails to deliver the goods. Whilst Killeen’s skills are commendable, it feels like with such a script and staging, he was simply given the wrong tools for the job.

Reviews by Jack Powell

Assembly Roxy

Lords of Strut: Chaos

Underbelly, Cowgate

John Robertson: The Dark Room

Pleasance Courtyard

Knightmare Live - Level 2

The Assembly Rooms


Pleasance Courtyard

Thünderbards: Seconds


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



The Blurb

Gerry's an electrician who has a useless teenage apprentice slowing him down; a renovation job has fallen way behind schedule; a bossy schoolmistress is breathing down his neck; his meddling foreman is snooping around; Jake the fat boss is giving him the sack while slobbering over a Mars Bar; Roubles the storeman won't give him any stock; Tom won't give him any pints ... and the day is never-ending. Will Gerry's story have a happy ending now that he has taken control? Shortlisted for the PJ O'Connor Award. A savagely funny, lyrical and uniquely visceral one-man show.

Most Popular See More

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets