(Time for catching up after a busy weekend.)
Ben Woolf's Angry Young Man is a slick, professional production about the British perception of Eastern European immigration. With four actors in identical suits splitting the roles, our hero (and I use the term loosely) Yuri comes to London to get a job as a surgeon, but through a set of unfortunate mishaps finds himself confronting skinheads, conspiracy theorists, and wishful leftists who claim to be sympathetically fighting for equality while really just as racist as those on the opposite side of parliament.
The play is distancing as Yuri is played by three actors, forcing the audience to engage the material intellectually rather than emotionally, though leaps in logic are required to navigate some large plot holes. The cast (all members of MahWaff Theatre Company) are solid, but the whole thing felt as thought it was running on auto-pilot.
As someone who has dealt with the "joys" of immigration, it's easy to sympathise with Yuri, but at the same time it's amazing how street-unwise this character can be and I found myself rather unaffected throughout. Someone complaining about "those damn immigrants", however, may take something away from this piece and feel-good types will be inspired to re-examine their perspectives, even for just a few minutes. It is unlikely, though, that Angry Young Man will cause said viewers to stop wishing their barrista at Costa would learn to speak goddamn English (perhaps a new line for Avenue Q playing up the road?).
Where: Trafalgar Studios 2
Cost: £15 Monday Eve., £18.50 all other performances
RZ Unofficial "Worth Paying": £10. Good but not great.
RZ Other Notes: Angry Young Man was originally going to be paired with another one-act from Woolf. but it was canceled due to massive cast illness - something not uncommon in the London theatre community this winter.