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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Review: Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey

On Saturday I went to see the excellent Beautiful Thing at West Yorkshire Playhouse. If you don't know it, it's a play by Jonathan Harvey, who now writes for Coronation Street. It was turned into a film in 1996 with Linda Henry, Ben Daniels, Tameka Empson, and Glen Berry and Scott Neal.

It's about two boys, Jamie and Ste, who live in high rise flats in South London. Jamie is bullied at school, and Ste is badly treated by his dad and brother. Jamie's mum Sandra has a hippy boyfriend Tony, and next door neighbour Leah is obsessed with Mama Cass. Jamie and Ste fall in love, and eventually it all comes out.

I love the film, but I'd never seen the play. So when I saw it was coming to Leeds, and starring Suranne Jones as Sandra, I knew I had to go. Both boys were played by relative newcomers, and I didn't recognise the person play Tony, but Leah was played by Zaraah Abrahams, who played Corrie's Joanne Jackson. Both Suranne and Zaraah were excellent, as was the boy playing Jamie.

It's a very sweet story about coming out, about finding love in difficult circumstances, and about being yourself. It's also darkly comic, with great turns of phrase and a very sparse setting which mean the characters have to do a lot of work.

It was great to hear Suranne Jones do something except her natural accent. I would quite honestly go and see her reading out the phone book - I love her.

If you get the chance to go and see this, definitely do!

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