The Fulstow Boys. Stockton Arc. 7.9.18

Perhaps the central purpose of art, even at it’s most flippant, is it’s ability to be revelatory and provoke us into re-examining our core beliefs.

What happens when art presents us with an alternative to one of our sternest beliefs and how does this affect our sense of identity?

With this in mind, and in keeping with his reputation as a first class writer, Gordon Steel’s ‘The Fulstow Boys’, is a piece of theatre which holds a profound ability to both reveal and beckon us into contemplative examinations.

Focused around huge performances from Laura Mould and Joshua Hayes, ‘Boys’ is a tale of two separate, true, stories combined together; one a woman’s struggle to fight for a strangers reputation, the other a cautionary tale about societal expectations of masculinity.

Big and brave, ‘Boys’ thrives through Steel’s insistence on juxtaposition; regularly splicing between time zones (war and modern times), emotional settings (laugh out loud comedy and profound tragedy) and human relationships (friendships and rivalries).  A production trick which works brilliantly, ‘Boys’ is able to navigate the audience’s emotions, offsetting moments of harrowing post-traumatic stress disorder (a moment with Hayes in the crux of a war-induced breakdown is particularly difficult to watch) with light relief tales from an unorganised town committee and a woman hell-bent on her mission.

Thoroughly enjoyable, and with no dry eye left in the house, ‘Boys’ ultimate success is ability to tell the tale of the best traits of humanity; humour, sacrifice and friendship.

Revelatory and moving, ‘Boys’ will have audiences reflecting and re-examining.

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