Teddy Ferrara is based on the suicide of Simon Clementi, who’s roommate secretly filmed him having sex with a men and broadcast it across social media. The story follows a group of queer college students who, using their various political voices within campus society, tackle the unobserved issue of homophobia within modern day student life. With suicide being a far too regular solution for some, this story highlights the desperation that the students and faculty face, not only with their own turmoil, but with the responsibility of helping others.
One thing Christopher Shinn’s script does is layout some very real and current issues in a refreshingly stark and tasteful way. The odd moment of clichéd dialogue, and somewhat unnatural speech patterns, jar slightly in Shinn’s almost entirely naturalistic setting. The vividly defined personalities found within each character, are hugely identifiable within todays society, regardless of nationality. The plays narrative however, is a tad meandering and lacks a solid purpose. This then offers a certain dilemma that argues whether you really need high drama and plot twists that undeniably thrill the audience, to portray what is an all too poignant topic. Shouldn’t these issues be enough in their own right to tell a story? As they are in fact real life and very immediate concerns. Regardless of this, the hard hitting subject matter and superb performances of the thirteen strong cast, allow for a thought provoking and engaging piece of theatre.
Special mention must go to Luke Newberry for his impeccable performance of Gabe, the leader of the Queer Students Group. Also to Ryan McParland, who’s dark portrayal of Teddy is entirely mesmerizing.
Overall Teddy Ferrara will certainly get you thinking about the reality of modern homophobia and the effect it has on people. In a society that could seek help from a real life tangible friend, or group of men on a chat room, and can still be left with the same sense of loss, unsure of who to turn to or who to trust.
Reviewed by Bob Galereux
Teddy Ferrara is playing at the Donmar Warehouse theatre until the 5th December. Click here for tickets