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Sugar Snap at the Union Theatre

Katherine Hayes for EXTRA! EXTRA!

A rainy Friday night, another performance to attend: at the Union Theatre in Southwark to be precise. A first trip to the 2005 Peter Brook Empty Space award winner impressed with its production of Sugar Snap directed by Suha Al-Khayyat.

Alex Cooke's play focuses on Frazer (David McGillivray), a photographer worried about the future of his difficult aging father. Together with a mid-life glitch, Frazer is bored with his boyfriend and frustrated with his inability to let go of the past.

A chance encounter unleashes Frazer's creativity and energy for his art, with this come confessions of a past which will hurt those he is trying to help, and those who need him.

The dialogue is authentic and well played. Anthony Wise as Mark is excellent as a suitably stroppy boyfriend who needs his breathing exercises to calm his inner zen.

Donald Eilliot as Vic gave an excellent performance as the father failing in health, which should settle as the season continues.

The play was advertised as an examination of the older generation of ‘out' gay men, but I would go further than that to say this is a play about need therefore extending its appeal to all adults. Not necessarily sexual need, but rather how we need people to keep us alive, make us happy, want us or just make us a cup of tea.

Linda Robertson's Angela is a nice counterpoint to an otherwise all male cast. Alec Parkinson's performance as a cocksure Richard, flush with female admirers and young man's confidence brought energy into the mix.

Sensitive direction by Suha Al- Khayyat let this script not become maudlin, but allowed the characters to show their characters as edgy, selfish or lonely. I loved the set design by Petra Storrs – practical, easy for actors to manage, and thoughtfully put together.

Support this show which is challenging, emotional and yet leaves you feeling uplifted, that can only happen when a script has touched the one thing that unites us- humanity.

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