Review – M.A.M.I.L by Gregory Cooper

MAMIL by Gregory Cooper – Horizon Theatre – New Wolsey Studio till Sat 22nd

‘…and in his time one man plays many parts’ – Shakespeare said it first and the truth is proved in this one man tour de force from versatile actor Philip Steward in a tale for our time.

Set on a minimal stage backed with scenes from a cycle race, the opening radio style patter confirms the location is set firmly in New Zealand. But don’t worry – although there are a couple of in jokes this is a play that most men will empathise with,  and most women will relate to, in a plot that looks at overcoming failures in career and relationships coupled with the realisation of most male’s greatest fear – a diagnosis of testicular cancer.

But this isn’t a sad or traumatic 90 minutes – its a hilarious romp though the life of down on his luck, sometime property developer turned bankrupt looser Bryan Cook, and some of the many characters that impact on his life – from nerdy James Benge who liquidates his business, weasely Max his betraying South African business partner, his (female) German doctor, the members of the cycling club he joins, his bike ( an Italian diva!) and his – well – member. Tom Jones even gets a look in.

All these are played with incredible dexterity and timing as well as a dizzying array of accents by actor Philip Steward who holds the stage singlehandedly as he takes us on a journey through the life of a man who seems to lose everything and yet finds himself again by becoming one of the very people he has always hated – a middle aged man in lycra.

Technically this a is a complicated show – but Director John Hood makes it work with some great sound effects and lighting cues that help move the story along and set each scene.

Due to the nature of the subject this play contains adult themes and strong language – and if you are easily offended I wouldn’t recommend it. But that aside – it is an important subject handled with humour and wit that is brilliantly acted and directed in 90 minutes of non stop entertainment – so for everyone else – this is a must see.

And if you miss it this week at the Studio you can catch it again as part of Felixstowe Arts Fest on Friday August 4th at Two Sisters (formally St Mary’s Church, Trimley) – the new arts venue for Felixstowe.

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