Stephen Donnan reviews the latest play from Gareth Russell, ‘Say You’ll Remember Me’ now playing at the MAC theatre in Belfast.
“Fatniss Everdene”is how one character describes another in this hilarious comedy from Gareth Russell.
You’ll have to forgive me for this relatively short review, but it takes a lot to make me laugh when I’m in the theatre, and Say You’ll Remember Me had me in stitches every couple of seconds.
In a completely different vein than his previous production, Gate Of The Year, this new show pits plucky and newly-out, Cameron Matthews (Paul Storrs) from the Malone Road in Belfast, against the trials and tribulations of the adolescent jungle.
Paul Storrs delivers a blindingly adorable performance as Cameron, and supporting cast members all have their centre stage moment in Russell’s script.
A few of the jokes failed to land with the audience, but I suspect that was more down to shock than anything else; this is definitely not a play for young kids, but will hit home with young people and millennials, who will recognise all-too-well the grammar school environment that has been perfectly mirrored on the stage by Russell and his cast.
Emma Taylor, as Imogen, and Debra Hill, as Sammy-Jo, stole the show, however. Taylor doesn’t miss a beat in her delivery as feisty and fierce best friend, Imogen, accurately portraying the typical English, school-girl snob with a bad attitude.
Hill ticked all the boxes, as she had the audience in a wrinkle from the moment she walked on stage as working class, Loyalist, schoolgirl, complete with hoop earrings, ponytails, and Union Jack schoolbag, one of her opening lines being “Yolo swag, yolo flag!”.
One of the more memorable faces from the show is Shane McNaughton, who plays James, and who has also been spotted in NI favourite, The Fall, and had a role in Belfast Nativity. He fluffed his lines once or twice, but it was barely noticeable, and his professionalism and that of the cast turned a few similar moments into laughs or seamless ad-libs.
There is not a single thing I would criticise about this production, even the singing was on point! Get down to The Mac while this is still on, or you will be missing out on a real treat.
Kudos to Gareth and his team for another stand-out show.