Sometimes a play’s background is more interesting than the actual show. In this case, What’s Wrong With Angry was a contemporary piece about the consequences of Section 28 and disparity in British age of consent law between straight and gay couples. At the time of its premiere, the tale of an out schoolboy amidst a swirl of scandal, cottaging, and violent schoolmates was controversial, shocking, and a tour de force which clearly spawned countless imitators because there’s no other way it could seem so sappy - complete with main character about to swallow a bottle of pills and then throwing it away to declare his choice for life - and cliché now.
Was it more relevant back in 1993? Almost certainly, but time and advances in civil rights, complete with David Cameron recently apologising for Section 28, have blunted the play’s edge and place it in an odd void between introspective period piece (not enough real period depth) and Grange Hill/After School Special. The sad thing is how much things haven’t changed, especially for queer youths, but this isn’t the play to send the message anymore.
So why bring it back? I have no idea, though the current production at the Kings Head is directed by its author, Patrick Wilde, and he makes a decent if not inspired go at things, with the selection of backing and transitional music being the best part. The cast are a mixed bag, though I can’t pull up names thanks to the Kings Head website not listing anybody, but focal character Steven, who is on all the posters and out and proud, is well played, as is his female best friend. Conflicted love interest John is a weak link in the cast, while a sympathetic teacher is portrayed...well, no so much portrayed as phoned in and incredibly fake.
In short, find the film (retitled Get Real) instead.
Where: Kings Head
When: Until 16 August, Tu-Sa @ 19:30, Sa/Su @ 15:30
How Much: £18 (reserved)/£15 (unreserved)
RZ Unofficial “Worth Paying”: £4 (Cost of renting the film at Blockbuster)
RZ Other Notes: None