REVIEW: PUNTS (Theatre 503) ★★★★

Punts, written by Sarah Page, finds itself in the intimate location that is Theatre 503 above the Latchmere Pub. The Latchmere serves great food, and the theatre itself benefits from tiered seating and a clear view of the stage, so we were already off to a good start.

We meet Jack, a 25-year-old young man with a learning disability, whose parents have decided to help him with achieving one of life’s biggest milestones: losing his virginity. Their method? Hiring a professional. Sex worker Kitty arrives at the house to do as Jack and his parents have planned, but ends up having more of an influence on this closely-bonded family than any of them had ever expected.

Numerous conversations develop into thought-provoking debates on the morality of sex as a commodity, and the extent to which judgement can or cannot be placed on those who work in this trade or invest in its services. There are a few particularly raw moments whereby we witness the personal struggles of the play’s four characters, all with unique perspectives on Kitty’s role in this coming-of-age activity, highlighting just how deceptive initial impressions can be. Indeed, the character development of Kitty is excellent, gradually losing her initial air of over-pronounced grandeur put on for clients and revealing her true name and nature, behind the job title.

Particular praise to Christopher Adams for his skillful portrayal of Jack, demonstrating the difficulties that Jack’s character has with expressing his emotions and in a calm, ‘socially acceptable’ way. The performance felt like being granted a peek inside a real family struggling with very real issues.

Sarah Page’s writing tackles Jack’s unique scenario with sensitivity and boldness, gradually weeding out the insecurities of his seemingly-assured but otherwise starkly-unsure parents. With numerous injections of humour in between some very high-pressure scenes that had us all holding our breath with awkwardness or intrigue, Punts boasts an highly professional cast and will be sure to keep you gripped from beginning to end.

Reviewed by Laura Evans
Photo: Claudia Marinaro

Punts plays at Theatre 503 until 24 June 2017