Stalking The Bogeyman
Stalking The Bogeyman at Southwark Playhouse held its press night on the 15th July. I was lucky enough to be invited along via London Theatre Bloggers to review it.
Stalking The Bogeyman
Stalking The Bogeyman is the true story of David who gets raped by the ‘Bogeyman,’ aged 7. The Bogeyman is his parent’s friends 17 year old son who he is then forced to see on a frequent basis due to their parent’s friendship. We follow David as he grows up and discover the impact that the rape has on him. Eventually David learns that the Bogeyman is living in the town he has moved to and he begins to plot to kill him.
Gerard McCarthy played the role of David who captured the innocence of David aged 7 which contrasted perfectly with David many years on, more wary of the impact the Bogeyman had on him all those years ago. At all of the stages in his life Gerard managed to distinguish between them. Therefore the jumping forward in time frames, which could have got confusing, were easily understood.
Mike Evans played the Bogeyman, no easy feat. It would have been easy to portray the Bogeyman as pure evil but this would have been far too simplistic, Mike Evans therefore managed to portray a complex character who you despise in one breath yet pity in the next. The supporting cast around them, including Glynis Barber and Geoffrey Towers as David’s parents, Nancy and Robert Holthouse all delivered their parts well and your heart went out to Glynis as David’s mother.
The set is simplistic but well executed. As you walk into the theatre the walls are covered with newspaper clippings and other artifacts that all stem back to sexual abuse in some way, some of which you find out more about as the play goes on. This is a clever concept as you feel all consumed by this, just as David must have done. The props are hidden around the set in nooks and crannies which allows the story to flow. The direction also enhanced this and the cast were situated around the theatre rather than frequent entrances and exits in and out of the room they delivered interjections from where ever they had last situated themselves, mostly among the audience. This allowed the show to keep a swift pace and to focus on David’s journey.
The most important thing about the show however is that it gives the real David a voice to tell his story. This in turn shows other victims that talking about sexual abuse can in fact empower them. As the programme notes say the stigma prevents action, thus allowing us to remain in denial about the scale of the problem. The cast, set and direction all come together to serve justice to this powerful and moving story. It’s productions like this that demonstrates that the arts do matter and deserves to be seen by many.
It is perhaps a side note but one that possibly needs telling nonetheless, I took Mr Musical Theatre Musings with me. I wanted to let him have the final say in my review for reasons that shall become clear –
‘As someone who has experienced first hand a similar ordeal to David,the piece really hit home. The emotions and thought process that were portrayed were steeped in my own reality. I wish I had seen this play myself when I was a lot younger and I may have found it easier to open up about my own experience a lot earlier. David’s own notes in the programme states that ‘I hope it makes survivors feel less alone, less afraid,’ it certainty did that and I hope it educates the younger generation that there is no stigma or shame in talking about these issues.’
Stalking The Bogeyman is on until 6th August at the Southwark Playhouse. Also a big thank you must got to Theatre Bloggers for arranging the tickets. Check out my other reviews from shows at the Southwark Playhouse – Grand Hotel & Xanadu.