The Bus – Above The Stag

Above The Stag Theatre presents the European premiere of The Bus by JamIMG_9137es Lantz, a play that has had a huge impact since its american premiere in 2006 and off-Broadway run in 2011. The show then moved across America to Kansas in the heart of the Bible Belt where being gay is still frowned upon. The show performed at a crucial time for gay rights, in an anti-gay campaign headed up by the church.

You only need to look at the website for The Bus to see what a profound effect it has had on people’s lives, especially in America. More than 450 people around the world funded the original production of The Bus in a crowd funding campaign online showing how strongly this show resonates with people.

The Bus is a story with a message. It’s very subtle, but it’s there. Being gay is ok. Two teenage boys who meet up regularly, late at night on an abandoned bus between a church and a gas station. They just want to be able to sit together, lay together, without being judged. Unfortunately X’s father who runs the gas station ends up in a brawl with the church and demands for the bus to be removed from his property.

Whist the story is centred around two teenage boys, Ian and Jordan (played by William Ross-Fawcett and Kane John Scott) this is very much an ensemble piece. Ian Dring, Katherine Jee and Matt Ian Kelly all give strong performances as Sloat, Sarah and Harry and there isn’t really one performer in particular that stands out as any better than another.

What makes this play impressive is the set design by David Sheilds. The small space at Above The Stag is well utilised with huge McDonalds signs and litter giving the look at feel of a garage car park.

The Bus is a good play that has obviously hit a nerve around the world. Personally, I would have liked to have seen something a little more gritty and raw given the context of the story. It all seemed a little too safe for me and would have liked to have seen them let rip at times.

Reviewed by West End Wilma

Photo Credit: Derek Drescher

The Bus is playing at Above the Stag Theatre in Vauxhall until 22 November 2014.