The satellite town of Romford is where Dan Murphy grew up, and it is also the setting for his debut play A Local Boy.
For his debut work, Murphy has presented a play about identity, relationships, and the anger that smoulders when we feel like we don’t belong.
Director Kay Michael guides her strong ensemble cast (Debra Baker, Tim Bowie, Ross McCormack, Bailey Patrick, and Abigail Rose) through a non-linear narrative, moments of time, fragments of conversations captured as short scenes that gradually accumulate to reveal the story and explore the motivations of the characters.
The discovery of a body, a mother worried about her son, a blossoming romance played out over social media.
Speaking with Murphy after the show, he seemed relieved that it was over, that it had gone well, that everyone had liked it.
‘It was an opportunity to explore questions of identity’ he explained, ‘…and also what happens when someone steals your identity.’
One of the strengths of the play is the sharp, cracking dialogue effortlessly delivered by the characters.
‘We were lucky to be able to cast actors who were pretty much from East London and Essex, so they were really able to deliver the dialogue authentically’ acknowledged Murphy.
A Local Boy concludes with a meditative refection on life, love, and growing up in a crazy, mixed-up world in which most of us somehow manage to muddle through.
At a time when identity seems to be becoming an increasingly fluid and emotive concept, Murphy may not have all of the answers but he’s clearly making a powerful contribution to the conversation with A Local Boy.
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