Saturday, August 05, 2017

'City of Champions' by Stephen Brown

London The Unfinished City
Cast of Champions.

Cast, left to right : Amy Burke, Joel Arnold, Joe Southall, Steve Brown (writer and director), Ellie Ward, Maggie Robson and Ian McCurrach.

Saturday August 5, 2017.

I had a thoroughly amazing time watching the final night of City of Champions, at the London Theatre Workshop

The play took us through a roller coaster of emotions; some funny and humourous highs to some very dark and emotional lows. 

London The Unfinished City
London Theatre Workshop.

The cast were superb and really brought the characters to life with great dialogue and wonderful chemistry. 

I find myself fortunate to have seen this play twice and to have seen it grow from those first early drafts, some six years ago.

Ian McCurrach was particularly monstrous as James Hudson Phillips, the man responsible for the anguish of the main character, Laurie.

Maggie Robson gave a wonderful, matriarchal performance as Barbara Munro, mother, and manager, of Laurie

Ellie Ward played the role of Amie Drake in a measured way, which allowed the character to shine through. 

Amy Burke, as Mary Celeste, was great to watch as Laurie's love interest, giving a highly polished performance. 

Joe Southall was incredible to watch as Lonnie Drake, best friend and 'big brother' of Laurie, in a role that demanded a lot from him. 

London The Unfinished City
The Venue.

However, Joel Arnold, as Laurie Munro, was captivating to watch. The sheer intensity of his performance was a revelation. From the characters cocky, and humorous, moments, at the start of the play, to his more intense and emotionally charged scenes, and everything in between, was a pure joy to behold. 

The writing, by Steve Brown, flowed and wasn't forced or contrived, so that the conversations and interactions, between the characters, felt natural and believable.

The entire show, under Steve's direction, was an absolute triumph to behold and, honestly, would not look out of place in a larger theatre. 

London The Unfinished City
The Set.

Kudos, to Mr Brown, for sharing this personal piece with those of us who were fortunate enough to see it, and, after reading the first few drafts, six years ago, I am so pleased that he finally got to put the show on. 

Bravo, my friend. I look forward to your next project with great anticipation. 

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