REVIEW: TWITSTORM (Park Theatre) ★★★★

Chris England has previously written some highly successful plays including An Evening With Gary Lineker and Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson. Chris has now changed tack with this play, left behind sports heroes and takes on the far bigger subject, Twitter. This is the world premier of Twitstorm.

This comedy play concerns TV personality, Guy Manton, his author wife Bex, a couple of media types and Ike, an African refugee. When an “innocent ” racial slur gets copied on to Guy’s Twitter account, it causes an immense storm of abuse against Guy, who can’t get anyone to believe that he had not posted the comment and he refuses to do the expedient, sensible thing, and apologise. Foolish Guy, little did he realise that his whole world was about to collapse. Then things got even worse.

The cast is absolutely stellar. Guy Manton is played by Jason Merrells, an excellent and highly experienced actor who plays the role with just the right level of macho defiance before realising what he is up against, the power of social media. It is to Jason’s credit that by the conclusion of the play he had brought the audience round to, if not agreeing with him, at least feeling sorry for him.

Guy’s wife Bex is played by the wonderful Clair Goose. She has starred in many classic television programs such as Waking The Dead and The Coroner. Her character is the most surprising, and I long to share the surprise, but won’t spoil it for future audiences. Clair is one of today’s best and most accomplished actresses and getting her to appear in the play was a Coup for The Cahoots (sorry could not resist it).

I should also mention Justin Edwards who plays Neil and has been in almost every theatrical show and television programme you could think of. He is so ubiquitous that you feel like shouting “hello” when he comes on. His portrayal of a friendly, slightly out of his depth character was spot on. Justin is a fine actor who gives the audience a laugh every time he talks.

Chris England, as well as writing the play, plays Rupert. If you want proof of his world wide acclaim, fly across to Dubai and see his giant face adorning the Legaan Ride in the new Bollywood Theme Park. Chris is possibly one of the few actors visible from ten thousand feet. He was very good indeed.

Ben Kavanagh has the (almost) dual role of both Steve and the hip, popular culture writer, transvestite Daniel. Great acting, great make up.

Last, but by no means least, there is the brilliant Tom Moutchi, who’s day job is a social network star. Tom plays Ike, the African refugee who is the catalyst for all the dreadful events. Tom is a supremely believable and likeable actor.

This is a play of two, fairly distinct halves. Act one is funny but a bit slow, however the second half moves at a breakneck pace.

Overall, Twitstorm is well written, well acted and enjoyable and I would happily recommend it. The production finishes at the Park Theatre on 1 July 2017.

Reviewed by Graham Archer
Photo: Darren Bell